Family Support Directory

Being a parent or carer isn’t always easy, and sometimes we all need some help. This directory brings together all the helpful organisations, benefits and information that support parents and carers, no matter what your situation or stage your child is at.

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Organisation

Active Schools - sports and activities for kids

Active Schools - sports and activities for kids

Active Schools provides your kids with the opportunity to easily take part in sport and physical activity before school, during lunchtime, and after school. You can find which Active Schools are operating in your area by going to Sport Scotland's website.

Organisation

Additional support for learning

Additional support for learning

Enquire has lots of information and advice for parents with children who need additional support with learning. They have resources to help parents support their child’s learning, including guides and factsheets on issues they may be facing. They also publish a parents’ guide which has information on parents’ and carers’ rights.

They also have a confidential helpline. Their number is 0345 123 2303.

They also have a website called Reach for children and young people which has information and advice about issues they may be facing at school and at home. 

Let’s Talk ASN is a free advocacy and legal representation service for the parents of children with additional support needs who may require support in relation to a dispute or potential dispute with an education authority. You can contact them on 0141 445 1955 or email letstalkasn@edlaw.org.uk

All children have the right to have their say when decisions are being made about the support they get with their learning.

The My Rights, My Say website helps kids with additional support needs (aged 12-15) to use these rights. It’s an independent, confidential and easy to use service that helps make sure the voices of children with additional support needs are heard.

Organisation

Adoption UK Scotland

Adoption UK Scotland

Adoption UK Scotland is a national helpline for adoptive families or those planning to adopt in Scotland. You can call them on 08080 10 10 11 from 10am – 2.30pm, Monday to Friday or visit the Adoption UK Scotland website.

Organisation

Age Scotland

Age Scotland

Age Scotland is the national charity for older people. They work to improve the lives of everyone over the age of 50 so that they can love later life. Visit Age Scotland online or call their helpline on 0800 12 44 222.

Organisation

Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and drugs

If you or a member of your family are struggling with drugs or alcohol you can get free and confidential support by calling the We Are With You helpline on 0333 230 9468 or via web chat.

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs supports anyone concerned about someone else's alcohol or drug use in Scotland. Call their free and confidential helpline on 08080 10 10 11 or email helpline@sfad.org.uk

They also offer bereavement support for anyone who has lost a loved one who had substance abuse issues. All support services are free. 

If you’d rather talk to someone face to face you can also speak to your GP, midwife, Health Visitor or Family Nurse.

Organisation

Allied Health Professionals – supporting child development

Allied Health Professionals – supporting child development

If you’re concerned about your child’s development an Allied Health Professional (AHP) can help. Your concerns may be things like co-ordination, walking, sitting up, nutrition and weight, clumsiness, sensory concerns, fussy eating, playing, reading, writing, hearing, or stammering.

Allied Health Professionals is a term used to describe a range of professions including art therapists, dietitians, drama therapists, music therapists, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, osteopaths, paramedics, physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists and orthotists, diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers, and speech and language therapists.

You can get referred to an AHP by your GP or Health visitor. You can also contact an AHP directly through Enquire’s website.

You and your family can also find support through the Kids Independently Developing Skills website. They provide information, advice, strategies and self-help support.

Organisation

Autism

Autism

Scottish Autism provide information, advice, and a range of support services across Scotland for autistic individuals and their families.

You can email the Autism Advice Line for help and advice at advice@scottishautism.org. You can also contact them on 01259 720044 or at autism@scottishautism.org.

Organisation

Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s is a charity working to support vulnerable families and children across Scotland. They offer residential and community-based services as well as practical, emotional, and financial support. Visit the Barnardo’s website to learn more.

Organisation

Breathing space - mental health support

Breathing space - mental health support

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone service for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16 experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. Call them for free on 0800 83 85 87 or visit the Breathing Space website for support and information.

Organisation

Bullying

Bullying

respectme is Scotland’s anti-bullying service that provides practical advice and guidance on dealing with bullying behaviour.

They work with parents, carers, and all adults involved in the lives of children and young people to give them the practical skills and confidence to deal with children who are bullied and those who bully others. Visit the respectme website for more information.

Organisation

Career information, advice and guidance

Career information, advice and guidance

Scotland has a free Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) service. The CIAG service is available in all state secondary schools in Scotland. It can also be accessed online, telephone helpline, and in their high street centres.

Your child can also get support from My Kids CareerApprenticeships.scot, and Skills Development Scotland.

Organisation

Carers Scotland - support for young carers

Carers Scotland - support for young carers

6,000 people start looking after someone each day. Carers Scotland offer advice and information to those at the start of their carers journey. Call them on 0808 808 7777 or visit the Carers Scotland website.

Care Information Scotland is a phone, webchat, and website that offers information about care services for people living in Scotland. Call them on 0800 011 3200 or visit the Care Information Scotland website.

Organisation

Cerebral Palsy Scotland

Cerebral Palsy Scotland

Cerebral Palsy Scotland is a charity that help people with cerebral palsy to build skills, knowledge, confidence and relationships. They offer therapy tailored to the needs of your child, including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. You can find out more by visiting Cerebral Palsy Scotland website.

Organisation

Child bereavement

Child bereavement

Child Bereavement UK help children and young people deal with bereavement, and support parents and families when a child dies.

Cruse Bereavement Care is Scotland's bereavement charity. They help people cope with bereavement and support them with how to deal with loss.

Organisation

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland

Caring for a child with a life-shortening condition can place unimaginable demands on families, physically and emotionally. Children’s Hospices Across Scotland offers help for these families. They provide a range of care and support services to children and young people living in Scotland.

If you're looking for support you can find out more on the Children's Hospices Across Scotland website. Call Children's Hospices Across Scotland on 0131 444 1900 or email them at support@chas.org.uk

Organisation

Domestic abuse support for children

Domestic abuse support for children

The Scottish Child Law Centre offer support regarding children living in an abusive environment. Their advice line is open to everyone who is looking for free legal advice on Children’s Rights and Scots Child Law. They can be contacted on 0131 667 6333 Monday to Friday between 09:30am - 4pm.

Organisation

Domestic abuse support for women

Domestic abuse support for women

Scottish Women’s Aid provide support to women who have experienced or are experiencing abuse. The Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline can also be contacted 24 hours a day on 0800 027 1234. You can also access web chat on The Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline's website. There are a number of local services who can provide support and the helpline will be able to signpost you to these.

The Scottish Women's Rights Centre helpline is where women can speak to solicitors or advocacy workers about issues affecting them. You can contact them on 08088 010 789.

Organisation

Dyslexia Scotland

Dyslexia Scotland

Dyslexia Scotland’s website includes information on the range of support and advice services they offer to parents or carers of children and young people with dyslexia. You can also call them on 0344 800 84 84.

Organisation

Families affected by imprisonment

Families affected by imprisonment

Families affected by imprisonment face numerous challenges including financial hardship, relationship breakdowns, anxiety, and health issues. Families Outside provide support to families affected by imprisonment to help them deal with these issues.

If you are looking for information or support, please contact Families Outside via their website or on their helpline at 0800 254 0088.

Organisation

Fathers Network Scotland

Fathers Network Scotland

Fathers Network Scotland help dads be as involved as possible in their children’s lives. They have lots of information to support dads on their website. They have also made a guide for parents and schools to help dads get involved in their children’s education.

Organisation

Grandparents Apart UK

Grandparents Apart UK

Grandparents Apart UK provides support and advice to people who have been denied contact with their grandchildren. Call them on 0141 882 5658 or 01560 322937 to get help and support on dealing with these issues.

Organisation

Home-Start - support for families with young children

Home-Start - support for families with young children

Home-Start is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times. They offer support around perinatal mental health, breastfeeding, antenatal workshops, dads groups, financial budgeting, messy play days with children, supporting parents into training and education and much more.

You can contact them on 0131 378 0081 or visit the Home-Start website for more information.

Organisation

Kinship care - for children living with family members who are not their parents

Kinship care - for children living with family members who are not their parents

The Kinship Care Advice and Information Service can offer kinship carers advice on allowances, financial issues and legal matters. There’s lots of information on their website or you can call 0808 800 0006. Local authorities may also offer support groups or training - contact them for more information.

Organisation

LGBT parenting

LGBT parenting

There is support and advice for LGBT parents on the Equality Network website. It has information about LGBT parents' experiences and rights.

If someone in your family is LGBT, support is available from LGBT Youth Scotland and the National LGBT Helpline, as well as Parent Enquiry Scotland. Parent Enquiry Scotland is a voluntary support service for parents.

Organisation

Maternity Action

Maternity Action

Maternity Action is a charity that offers free advice on rights at work, maternity pay, and benefits to pregnant women and new parents. You can call them on 0808 802 0029 from 10 – 1pm Monday to Friday.

They also offer free advice on NHS maternity care to women worried about being charged for NHS maternity care or who are having difficulties getting a maternity appointment.

You can call their Maternity Care Access Advice Service Line for free on 0808 800 0041 from 10am – 12pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Organisation

Mental health support for children

Mental health support for children

If you’re worried about your child’s mental health and wellbeing you can always speak to your child’s school for support. From the age of 10 your child can access counselling support through school.

Young people can contact Childline about anything, whatever their worry. There are lots of different ways to speak to a Childline counsellor or to get support from other young people. Call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website.

Young Minds also has a website with lots of information for young people. Your child can text Young Minds Crisis Messenger by sending YM to 85258. The service is open 24/7. They also offer support for parents. You can visit their website or call them on 0808 802 5544.

PAPYRUS provide confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone worried about a young person. Call them on 0800 068 4141.

Organisation

Mentoring for care experienced children

Mentoring for care experienced children

It’s important for all young people to have at least 1 long term relationship with a positive adult role model. It can be difficult for children to find this role model in a family setting if they are in care.

Intandem is a mentoring programme that connects children and young people aged 8 to 14 who are looked after by their local authority but living at home, with adults who can be a long term source of support and friendship.

Organisation

Moira Anderson Foundation

Moira Anderson Foundation

The Moira Anderson Foundation is a charity dedicated to supporting children, their families, and adults affected by childhood sexual abuse, through counselling and a variety of therapies. Visit the Moria Anderson Foundation website to find out more about the services they provide.

Organisation

Money advice

Money advice

We all know that being a parent can cost a lot of money. The Money Talk Team can help you find out about benefits and grants you’re entitled to, and offer advice to make your money go further. If you have money worries, the team can chat through your options and help you find the best way forward. Call them on 0800 085 7145 or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Money Talk Team website.

Organisation

National Parent Forum of Scotland - guides for learning

National Parent Forum of Scotland - guides for learning

The National Parent Forum of Scotland provides a series of “In a Nutshell” guides for a large number of subjects to do with your child’s education and learning, all the way from early learning and childcare to highers. The guides can be downloaded online and printed copies can be ordered too.

Organisation

One Parent Families Scotland

One Parent Families Scotland

One Parent Families Scotland helps single parent families.

They offer expert advice and support for single parents about anything from dealing with a break-up, sorting out child maintenance, understanding benefits, getting benefit calculations, finances when expecting a baby, paying for study and training, to moving into work.

Contact them through their freephone helpline on 0808 801 0323 or via their online chat.

Organisation

Parent Network Scotland

Parent Network Scotland

Parent Network Scotland offer a parenting wellbeing course which is delivered online over 8 1-hour sessions covering a range of topics from relationships, emotions, and looking after yourself.

Organisation

Parenting across Scotland

Parenting across Scotland

Parenting across Scotland provides support for parents and families through the Parenting across Scotland website. You can find information, support and free resources for parents through their website.

Organisation

Parentline

Parentline

Every family needs a helping hand sometimes. From moments of crisis, to everyday challenges, Parentline can help. Parentline is a helpline provided by the Children 1st, Scotland's national children's charity. The service provides practical support and advice to families and children across the country. They have lots of helpful information on the Children 1stwebsite or you can call them on 0800 028 2233.

Organisation

Parents and carers of disabled children

Parents and carers of disabled children

If you have a disabled child or are caring for a disabled child there’s lots of support out there to help you. This guidance has lots of information and advice, covering everything from financial support, respite, mental health and wellbeing and PPE.

Carers' centres are independent charities that offer practical support, advice and information for carers. You can find out where your local carers’ centre is on the Care Information Scotland website.

Contact also offer a range of help and support for families with disabled children. Visit the Contact website to learn more or call them on 0808 808 3555.

Action for Children also have help available. Visit their website and call them on 0300 123 2112.

Find other support for unpaid carers on the gov.scot website.

For more detailed guidance for unpaid carers providing personal care you can visit the gov.scot website.

Sense Scotland support disabled people and their families. Their services include a programme to support young people moving from school into adult life, short breaks and assistance planning activities for children and young people on weekends, evenings, and during school holidays

Find out more about the services on the Sense Scotland website.

Organisation

Parentzone Scotland - supporting your child's learning

Parentzone Scotland - supporting your child's learning

As a parent, you can make an enormous difference to your child's learning. Parentzone Scotland provides you with information and resources to help you to support your child’s education.

Organisation

Play Talk Read activity bus

Play Talk Read activity bus

The Play Talk Read buses give you ideas for little things you can do with your wee one each day to spend time together having fun. The buses are full of free activities you and your little one can do together. And it's completely free to come along! The buses travel around the country – find out when they’ll be near you.

Organisation

Rape Crisis Scotland

Rape Crisis Scotland

Rape Crisis Scotland provide support to survivors of sexual violence as well as their families. You can contact their helpline on 08088 01 03 02 everyday from 6pm - midnight. They can arrange for free language interpreters, including British Sign Language, to access support if your first language is not English.

They also have a number of Rape Crisis centres that offer free and confidential support.

Organisation

Relationships Scotland

Relationships Scotland

Relationships Scotland offer family mediation sessions, helping you work together and putting your kids first. They also support parents, children, young people and the wider family through family change and disruption, particularly where this has occurred as a result of separation or divorce. The aim of mediation is to improve communication, reduce conflict and to agree on arrangements for the future that work for the children involved. You can call their infoline on 0345 119 2020 or you can find the service nearest to you on Relationships Scotland's website.

Organisation

Relationships, counselling and mediation

Relationships, counselling and mediation

Spark can offer you help to better understand your relationship, the changes that can happen when you become parents and how you can work through any issues. They offer couple counselling, marriage counselling, individual counselling, youth counselling and family counselling. Call their free Relationship Helpline on 0808 802 2088 or visit the Spark's website.

Organisation

Samaritans

Samaritans

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here to listen – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find more information and support.

Organisation

Scottish Conflict Resolution Centres / Cyrenians

Scottish Conflict Resolution Centres / Cyrenians

Scottish Conflict Resolution Centres / Cyrenians is a charity that can help a parent or carer experiencing conflict at home. They offer free events and digital resources to help parents deal with understanding conflict.

Organisation

Scottish Transition Forum for parents of young people with ASN

Scottish Transition Forum for parents of young people with ASN

The Scottish Transition Forum is for parents and carers of young people with additional support needs aged 14-25 who are making the transition from school to young adult life. It provides information, guidance, and useful links to support parents and carers.

Organisation

Shelter Scotland

Shelter Scotland

Shelter Scotland provide help and answers to any housing issues you may have. Their website has information on how to avoid becoming homeless, how you can get help from the council and where to get help if you're sleeping rough.

Organisation

Skills Development Scotland for secondary school children

Skills Development Scotland for secondary school children

When your kids reach secondary school, they might start thinking about what they want to do in the future. My world of work gives you and your child help and advice to prepare them for jobs, courses and even interviews.

It can also help them build the skills they need to understand themselves and the world around them.

Organisation

Sleep Scotland

Sleep Scotland

Sleep Scotland offer support to improve sleep habits for children and young people. Call them on 0131 258 1258 or visit Sleep Scotland's website.

Organisation

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland)

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland)

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland) is a charity that offers specialist support and information. They provide a range of free services including a helpline, phone check-in service, one-to-one support via video conferencing or phone, virtual support groups and online activities for children, as well as information on financial and benefits support. You can contact their helpline on 03455 211 300, Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, or visit the Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland website.

Organisation

Stillbirth support

Stillbirth support

Stillbirth is one of the most devastating experiences any family can go through and it can take a long time to even begin to adjust to life after the death of a baby. There are a wide range of support groups and health professionals that can help support you during this very difficult time. You can find more details on the Parent Club website.

Organisation

Stop it Now! Scotland

Stop it Now! Scotland

Stop it Now! Scotland is a child protection charity that aims to prevent child sexual abuse by providing support services to families. They have a confidential helpline. You can call them on 0808 1000 900.

Stop it Now! Scotland has information and advice for anyone who is concerned about child sexual abuse.

Organisation

The Fostering Network

The Fostering Network

The Fostering Network brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children. They work with fostering services to ensure all fostered children and young people experience stable family life. They have a lot of information and support available for foster carers. The service can be contacted on 0141 204 1400, you can also email fosterlinescotland@fostering.net.

Organisation

The National Deaf Children’s Society

The National Deaf Children’s Society

The National Deaf Children’s Society have help and advice for deaf children and their families on their website. They have a helpline that you can contact by phone, text or video call with a BSL interpreter as well as a live web chat. Contact The National Deaf Children’s Society in a way that suits your needs.

Education Scotland has advice for deaf children and their families on the coronavirus situation as well.

Organisation

The Royal National Institute of Blind People

The Royal National Institute of Blind People

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is a charity that offers practical and emotional support for blind and partially sighted people. Visit their website to learn more about the help and support they offer.

Organisation

The Scottish Child Law Centre

The Scottish Child Law Centre

The Scottish Child Law Centre provides a free confidential legal advice service via telephone and email, on all aspects of Scots law relating to children and young people. They help parents, relatives or carers, as well as young people who have a question about any aspect of child law.

They can offer advice on parental responsibilities and rights, residence, contact, children’s rights, youth offending, education, health, social work, confidentiality and access to files. Their advice line for parents or carers is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm and can be reached at 0131 667 6333 or by e-mailing advice@sclc.org.uk. All calls and emails are answered by fully qualified solicitors. They also have dedicated advice line for children and young people. The number is 0300 330 1421.

Organisation

Twins and multiple births

Twins and multiple births

If you’re pregnant with twins, triplets, or more your midwife will discuss your maternity care with you to make sure it meets your needs.

You can also get in touch with Twins Trust in Scotland who provide information and create support networks for families with twins, triplets or more.

Organisation

Who cares Scotland - for care experienced people

Who cares Scotland - for care experienced people

Who Cares Scotland have an advice and support line for care experienced people which is open 12 noon to 4pm from Monday to Friday. They can be contacted by phoning 0330 107 7540, emailing help@whocaresscotland.org or texting 0775 604 7389.

Organisation

Young Carers Services

Young Carers Services

A young carer is anyone who provides care, or intends to provide care and is aged under 18, or 18 and still in school. There is information and advice to support young carers who are looking after someone else in their family. They can also find out how to get help and support on the Care Information Scotland website.

Carers' centres are independent charities that offer practical support, advice and information for you as a carer in your local area. You can find a list of local carer and young carer services on the Care Information Scotland website.

Organisation

Young Scot support for 11+

Young Scot support for 11+

The Young Scot website has lots of information for 11-26 year olds in Scotland on a range of areas including mental health, relationships and children’s rights. It also offers discounts, rewards and opportunities for free via the Young Scot Card.

Grants & Benefits

Activity Agreements to help school leavers prepare for the future

Activity Agreements to help school leavers prepare for the future

If your teen (16 -19 years old) is not working, in school, college, or training, then they may be able to access coaching and support from the Activity Agreements. These are run by Local Authorities and will help your child work on a plan to help them reach their goals, and prepare them for employment, training, education and/or volunteering.

They could include music, arts, sport or outdoor activities. Your teen can also take part in group activities with other local people and get involved in community projects. To find out what’s available in your local authority visit the mygov.scot website

Grants & Benefits

Baby Box for all expectant parents

Baby Box for all expectant parents

New babies need a surprising amount of stuff! Scotland’s Baby Box is a free box of essential items that will help you care for your little one. It’s packed full of clothes, bedding and lots of other useful items to help give your baby the best possible start in life. You can register for your Baby Box with your midwife and depending on when you register it will be delivered up to 4 weeks before your due date. 

Grants & Benefits

Best Start Foods

Best Start Foods

Best Start Foods is a benefit that provides money on a prepaid card every 4 weeks that you can use to buy healthy foods. You can apply for Best Start Foods if you live in Scotland, get certain benefits or tax credits and are pregnant or the parent or carer of a child under 3. You can apply when you're pregnant, or any time up to your child’s 3rd birthday.

For more information and to apply visit the mygov.scot website or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

Grants & Benefits

Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment

If you’re eligible, the Early Learning Payment is £250 for each child. You can apply when your child is aged between 2 to 3 years and 6 months. You can choose what to spend the money on – whether that’s new shoes, travel to get around, or toys to help them learn. You don’t have to take up a place at nursery to qualify for a payment.

For more information on eligibility and to apply visit the mygov.scot website or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

Grants & Benefits

Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment

Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment helps eligible parents in Scotland with the costs of pregnancy and having a new child. You can apply from the 24th week of pregnancy right up until your child is 6 months old.

For more information on eligibility and to apply visit the mygov.scot website or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

Grants & Benefits

Best Start Grant School Age Payment

Best Start Grant School Age Payment

Starting school can be a very exciting time but it can also be expensive. If you’re eligibile, the School Age Payment is £250 for each child. Just like the other Best Start Grants, you can spend it on whatever your child needs.

You can apply from 1 June in the year your child is first old enough to start school until the last day in February the next year.

You don’t have to take up a place at school to qualify for a payment. Parents and carers of children who homeschool, or who start school a year later, should still apply during the window when the child is first old enough to start school.

For more information on eligibility and to apply visit the mygov.scot website or call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222.

Grants & Benefits

BookBug baby - free activity bag and app

BookBug baby - free activity bag and app

BookBug Bags are packed full of fun activities for you and your baby to spend time playing, learning and having fun together.

You will get a Baby Bag from your Health Visitor at 3-5 weeks.

There is also a BookBug app with lots of great songs and rhymes you can fit into your day.

BookBug Sessions are a great way to have fun with stories and songs at your local library or community venue. You can find your local BookBug Sessions on the Scottish Book Trust website.

Grants & Benefits

BookBug P1 - free activity bag

BookBug P1 - free activity bag

BookBug bags are packed full of fun activities for you and your child to spend time playing, learning and having fun together.

You will get a BookBug Family Bag from your child’s school when your child is in primary 1.

There is also a BookBug app with lots of great songs and rhymes you can fit into your day.

BookBug Sessions are a great way to have fun with stories and songs at your local library or community venue. You can find your local BookBug Sessions on the Scottish Book Trust website.

Grants & Benefits

BookBug toddler - free activity bag and app

BookBug toddler - free activity bag and app

BookBug Toddler Bags are packed full of fun activities to help you and your child spend time playing, learning and having fun together.

You will get a Toddler bag from your Health Visitor when your child is 13-15 months old. You’ll receive another bag, called an Explorer Bag, from your child’s nursery when your child is 3 years old.

There is also a BookBug app with lots of great songs and rhymes you can fit into your day.

BookBug Sessions are a great way to have fun with stories and songs at your local library or community venue. You can find your local BookBug Sessions on the Scottish Book Trust website.

Grants & Benefits

Early learning and childcare

Early learning and childcare

All children in Scotland can get 600 hours of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) when they turn 3. Some children can also get it when they are 2. This could be at a nursery, childminder, or playgroup. Your local authority will have more information on where you can get these hours that are totally free to you.

Your local authority may also be able to offer funded or subsidised childcare over and above this. Contact your local authority to find out more.

For information on help paying for childcare visit Parent Club's page on getting to grips with childcare costs.

Grants & Benefits

Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 19s

Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 19s

If you have a child who is 16 to 19 years old and wants to continue learning at school or college, your child may be eligible for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). An EMA is a weekly payment of £30 and is currently paid in addition to Child Benefit and other benefits. To see if your child is eligible visit the mygov.scot website.

Grants & Benefits

Family Fund Scotland for disabled and seriously ill children

Family Fund Scotland for disabled and seriously ill children

Family Fund Scotland provide financial grants to families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people on lower incomes. You can find out more about their eligibility criteria on their website.

They also provide information and signpost to other charities and services which families may find useful.

Grants & Benefits

Free dental healthcare for all pregnant women

Free dental healthcare for all pregnant women

If you are pregnant you can access a NHS dentist for free. All you need to do is ask your midwife or GP for a MATB1 certificate and a valid prescription maternity exemption certificate (MatEx).

Grants & Benefits

Free nursery milk

Free nursery milk

Children under the age of 5 who attend a registered Early Learning and Childcare setting for 2 or more hours per day are entitled to 189ml of free dairy milk to support your child’s growth.

Ask your childminder or nursery for more details.

Grants & Benefits

Free school meals

Free school meals

All children get free school meals if they go to a local authority school and are in primary 1, 2, or 3.

From primary 4, your child can get free school meals if you receive certain benefits.

Please visit the mygov.scot website to find out if your child is entitled to receive free school meals.

Grants & Benefits

Free vitamins for all babies and breastfeeding women

Free vitamins for all babies and breastfeeding women

Some vitamins and minerals are very important when your little one is growing. Even though you can get lots of vitamins from a healthy balanced diet, you still might not get everything you need at certain times in your life. That’s why there are free vitamins available for infants up to 1 year old and breastfeeding women.

All you need to do is ask your midwife or Health Visitor for more information.

Grants & Benefits

Free vitamins for all pregnant women

Free vitamins for all pregnant women

Some vitamins and minerals are very important when you’re pregnant. That’s why if you are pregnant, you can get free vitamins through your local NHS health board. Just ask your midwife for more details.

Grants & Benefits

ILF Scotland transition fund for disabled people 16 to 25

ILF Scotland transition fund for disabled people 16 to 25

The Transition Fund is available for young disabled people aged 16-25. The fund can provide up to £7,500, for up to 1 year, to support young people living with disabilities to improve their lives. This includes autism, learning difficulty, physical disability, mental health (e.g. anxiety or depression) or hearing or visual impairments. Visit the Independent Living Transition Fund's website to find out if you can apply, and find out more about who has applied before, and what they received funding for.

Grants & Benefits

Neonatal Expenses Fund for premature or sick babies

Neonatal Expenses Fund for premature or sick babies

If your wee one is premature or sick and has to be kept in a neonatal unit at hospital after they’re born, you can claim the costs of travel and food. You must claim from the Neonatal Expenses Fund within 3 months of your baby being discharged from hospital. 

Find more information and how to make a claim on the mygov.scot website.

Grants & Benefits

Read, Write, Count P2 and P3 - free activity bags

Read, Write, Count P2 and P3 - free activity bags

Every child in P2 and P3 gets a free bag packed full of fun games and stories to help your child with their learning. You will get your bag through your child’s school. Find out more at the Scottish Book Trust's website. 

Grants & Benefits

School clothing grant

School clothing grant

You may be entitled to a school clothing grant. Local authorities can provide a grant of at least £100 per child. You can find a link to check if you’re eligible by visiting the mygov.scot website.

Grants & Benefits

Scottish Child Payment

Scottish Child Payment

The Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit that will pay £10 a week to families who live in Scotland and get certain benefits. It will be available for families with children up to the age of 16 and there is no limit on the number of children that families can claim for.

The Scottish Child Payment is being rolled out first for families with children under 6. It will be open for applications in November 2020, with first payments made from the end of February 2021.

Grants & Benefits

Solihull - free online parenting classes

Solihull - free online parenting classes

Solihull offers free access to courses on a range of topics, from pregnancy and labour to understanding the teenage brain. Every parent in Scotland with a child between 0-19 years old can access these courses for free. You can access them by going to their website and entering the code word TARTAN. This will give you a free 24-month registration period, lasting until May 2022, plus lifetime access after that.

Grants & Benefits

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides one-off grants to help people who are on lower incomes. The Crisis Grants support people who are facing an emergency or disaster, and Community Care Grants help people to start or maintain a settled home. For more information and details on how to apply visit the mygov.scot website.

Grants & Benefits

Time to Live grant for carers and young carers

Time to Live grant for carers and young carers

Time to Live grants help carers and young carers to take short breaks and have a rest. Taking a break can mean different things to different people, and young carers have used the fund to get things like bikes, tablets, music lessons and exercise equipment. You can apply to the Time to Live fund through your local carers centre.

Grants & Benefits

Young Carer Grant

Young Carer Grant

The Young Carer Grant is a yearly payment of £305.10 for young people aged 16 to 18 who spend an average of 16 hours caring for someone who receives a disability benefit.

Young carers can spend this grant on anything from new clothes, to a day out to an online streaming subscription, it is up to them.

Find out more about the grant and apply on the mygov.scot website or call 0800 182 2222.

Grants & Benefits

Young Scot Carers Package

Young Scot Carers Package

The Young Scot website has lots of information and advice for young carers including stories from other young carers and loads of tips and information on caring for someone.

It also tells young carers how they can apply for the Young Carers Package which includes digital vouchers, access to subscriptions and exclusive opportunities to help young carers to take a break.

Information

'Red Book' - The Personal Child Health Record

'Red Book' - The Personal Child Health Record

When your wee one is born, you’ll be given a Personal Child Health Record or “Red Book”. It’s a great way to keep track of your child’s health and development. It’s a good idea to take it with you when your child gets their vaccinations to help you keep a record.

Information

Antenatal appointments and antenatal classes

Antenatal appointments and antenatal classes

As soon as you know you are pregnant you should get in touch with your GP practice to get a midwife appointment. Your midwife will be able to help you all the way through your pregnancy with everything from staying healthy to what happens when you go into labour.

Speak to your midwife to find out what antenatal classes are available in your area. If you live in Scotland you can also access online antenatal classes using the access code TARTAN.

NHS Inform has more information on being pregnant during the covid-19 pandemic and information on what to expectfrom your antenatal care. There’s also lots of help and support on Parent Club.

Information

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides your baby with everything they need for the first 6 months of their life. While it’s not always easy, there’s lots of help to make sure you get breastfeeding off to a good start. You can get help from your midwife, Health Visitor or you can join a breastfeeding support group.

These are also a great way to meet other mums. You can find your local group on Parent Club's  page on Finding support groups in your area.

You can find more information and support on the Parent Club website.

Information

Child contact centres - for parents who don't live with their child

Child contact centres - for parents who don't live with their child

Child contact centres can play an essential role in helping children affected by family breakdown to maintain relationships with the parent they no longer live with, or with other family members.

Relationships Scotland provide child contact centres where parents who don't live with their children can see them. You can call their infoline on 0345 119 2020 or you can find the service nearest to you on Relationships Scotland's website.

More information on child contact centres can be found at Renfield Contact CentreFamily Contact Centre and VSA Contact Centre.

Information

Children’s Hearings System

Children’s Hearings System

If for any reason your child is involved in The Children’s Hearings System there’s lot of information and advice to support you on the Scottish Children Reporter Administration's website.

Information

Children’s rights

Children’s rights

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland website has information and advice on children’s and young people’s rights.

The resources for parents and carers on their website can help you to understand your child’s rights and provide help if you need advice about the human rights of your child. This includes things like support at school, privacy, physical and mental health, and making complaints.

Information

Continuing or leaving care

Continuing or leaving care

If you are caring for a young person aged 16-19, they may be eligible to remain in your care up to their 21st birthday. If they do leave your care, they will be entitled to aftercare support and assistance from their local authority. Contact your social worker for more information.

Information

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, including coercive and controlling behaviour, you’re not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help with domestic abuse, the Safer Scotland website has information on who to call for support. It also has advice on how to help someone who is living in a bad relationship. You can call them on 0800 027 1234.

Information

Domestic abuse and the law

Domestic abuse and the law

Domestic abuse is a criminal offence and should be, where possible and safe to do so, reported to police through 999(emergency) or 101 (non-emergency). It can be reported online.

You have the right to ask Police Scotland about the background of a partner, potential partner or someone who is in a relationship with someone you know, and there is a concern that the individual may be abusive.

You can apply through the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse online. This can also be done through a third party who is concerned for another individual, the third party may be a statutory or third sector organisation.

Information

Family Nurse Partnership for young parents

Family Nurse Partnership for young parents

If you or your partner is a first-time mother aged 19 or under you will have access to a Family Nurse. You should be automatically referred after your first appointment with your midwife. Your Family Nurse is there to support you throughout your pregnancy and until your child is 2 years old.

As well as supporting you in caring for your child, they will also work with you to provide advice on your health and wellbeing, and develop plans to support your life goals and ambitions.

Talk to your midwife if you haven’t been transferred to a Family Nurse.

Information

Flexible working

Flexible working

You might want to make some changes to your work routine so that you can better balance work and childcare responsibilities. Flexibility Works is a great website with information and advice on flexible working, and how to find more support.

ACAS also have a guide on how to ask for more flexible working hours which gives you all the information you need.

Information

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) supports families in Scotland by making sure children, young people and their parents/carers receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people.

Part of this is delivered through a “named person”. A “named person” is someone that children and their parents or carers can go to for initial advice and support. The named person will usually be your midwife until your child is born, and your Health Visitor until your child starts school. In school it is usually your child’s head teacher or a senior teacher.

A family may be offered direct support from their named person or help to access relevant services offered by the NHS, local authorities, and third sector or community groups. There is no obligation on children and families to accept the offer of advice or support from a named person.

For more information, please see the Scottish Government GIRFEC website.

Information

Guide for first-time tenants

Guide for first-time tenants

If your child is moving into their own home for the first time Young Scot has lots of useful information to help them. They will find everything they need to know on their website - from their rights, to dealing with tricky flatmates.

Information

Health Visitor for new and expectant parents

Health Visitor for new and expectant parents

Your Health Visitor will be on hand to support you and your child from the time that they are a bump right up to when they begin school. You should be contacted before your child is born, and shortly after birth. Your Health Visitor will provide advice and support on things like infant feeding, access to wider community support, and child development.

They will also undertake child development reviews to help support your child’s health and wellbeing. If you have a Family Nurse, then you will meet your Health Visitor once your child is 2 years old. Make sure you’re registered with your health board and you’ll be assigned a Health Visitor.

Information

Help with housing costs

Help with housing costs

If you need help with housing costs, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment. To find out if you’re eligible and apply for this, you can contact your Local Authority on the mygov.scot website

Information

Home education

Home education

Home education is where a parent or carer chooses to become the main teacher of their children and takes the legal responsibility for deciding what they will be taught and how. Normally, this is without direct support from schools, or the local authority. 

If your child already attends school you must request the local authority’s consent to withdraw them from school. You will be expected to explain how you intend to provide a suitable education for your child. In a few circumstances, including if your child has never attended school, you do not have to ask for the local authority’s consent to home educate, but the local authority is likely to contact you to find out if your child is receiving a suitable education.

You can find out more about Home Education including information and support networks on the Parentzone website.  

Information

Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave

Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave

If you or your partner is having or adopting a child, you should be eligible for leave. The mygov.scot website has all the information you need on maternity, paternity, parental and adoption leave.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission website has a great guide for you working mums, to help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy in the workplace.

Information

Mental health support for expectant parents

Mental health support for expectant parents

Getting ready to have a baby can be both exciting and scary. So it’s important that you pay attention to your mental health and look after yourself. There’s lots of advice and support for expectant parents on Parent Club. There is also a free online course that can help you understand how you may be feeling through pregnancy and birth. Use the code TARTAN to get free access.

If you are struggling speak to your GP, midwife, Family Nurse or call NHS 24 on 111. Parents can also find more support services via the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Directory.

Advice and support for new parents can be found on Parent Club, including information on how to access the free Solihull Online parenting resource.

Information

Mental health support for parents

Mental health support for parents

If you are struggling with your mental health speak to your GP or call NHS 24 on 111.

NSPCC also provide support for you and your child. You can call them on 0808 800 5000.

Information

Miscarriage support

Miscarriage support

A miscarriage is the loss of your baby before 24 weeks. Suffering a miscarriage is a traumatic experience for anyone. Often we don’t know the reason why but it’s very unlikely to be caused by anything you did or didn’t do.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage there is support available from your local NHS Board. Contact your GP, midwife, or other healthcare worker to access the support available.

Many health boards provide counselling and follow up support services. Your health board can also refer you to third-sector organisations like Held in Our HeartsSiMBASANDSTommy’s and the Miscarriage Association.

Information

Parents who live apart

Parents who live apart

The Parenting Plan is a guide for parents who live apart or who are going through a separation. It gives you the help you need to plan out visits and care, to make sure your wee one is happy and taken care of. There is also the Charter for Grandchildren which gives grandparents helpful tips on how they can support you and your kids.

Children in Scotland have practical advice to help parents who don’t live with their kids to be involved in their education.

Shared Parenting Scotland is here to help parents stay in touch with their children after divorce or separation. They have a useful FAQ section and practical advice to help parents who don’t live with their kids to be involved in their education. You can also contact them by email on info@sharedparenting.scot or call them on 0131 557 2440.

Information

Ready Steady Baby for expectant and new parents

Ready Steady Baby for expectant and new parents

The Ready Steady Baby website is a great guide for everything you need to know about pregnancy, labour and birth. It also covers early parenthood up to when your little one is 8 weeks old.

Information

School nurses

School nurses

School nurses play an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of all school age children, young people, and their families. Ask your child’s school for more information on what support you can get from your child’s school nurse or check your local NHS Board’s website. 

Information

Sexual health services

Sexual health services

Sexual health services offer advice on a range of issues, including contraception and emergency contraception, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Many offer free contraceptives as well as pregnancy and STI tests. You can find your nearest centre at NHS Inform.

If you think you might be pregnant and would like to speak to someone you can contact your local sexual health service or you can speak to your GP. You can find your local sexual health clinic at NHS Inform.

For further information and advice about sexual health and pregnancy visit the Sexual Health Scotland website.

Remember, you can still get free emergency contraception at most local pharmacies.

Information

Stillbirth

Stillbirth

When a baby dies after 24 weeks of pregnancy, before or during birth, it is known as a stillbirth. Sometimes, a baby can be stillborn and no cause can be found. However, we do know that there are things you can do to reduce your risk:

These apply whether you are having a single or multiple birth.

Information

Unemployment

Unemployment

PACE can help individuals with the advice and support they need when faced with redundancy. They offer information to help with looking for work, financial advice and counselling. To find out more call 0800 917 8000 or visit the Redundancy Scotland website.

You can also find more information and help if you’ve been made redundanct on the mygov.scot website

The Parental Employability Support Fund provides support to parents on low incomes who are looking for a job or who are currently in work and looking to progress. The Fund offers one to one tailored employability support from a key worker, including support to access training. To find out if you’re eligible contact your Local Authority Employability Team.

No One Left Behind helps people of all ages gain skills and confidence, helping them prepare for employment, training, education and/or volunteering. The scheme offers one to one tailored employability support from a key worker, including support to access training. Support is available to people of all ages who are experiencing barriers to entering or re-entering work. For further information, contact your Local Authority Employability Team.

Fair Start Scotland provides support to many people, including those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, to support them to find and retain work. Depending on your situation, you can get up to 12 months of tailored support to access employment and a further 12 months of in work support. To find out of you’re eligible call the Fair Start Scotland line on 0800 804 8108 or visit the Employability in Scotland website.

For more local support, you can try searching at aliss.org.