On Air Now
Thousands of the country's most disadvantaged children, young people and families will benefit from £15 million of new funding over the next year, the Scottish Government has announced.
It will be used to support initiatives such as projects to tackle poverty, promote parenting skills and encourage family support for learning.
The Government will invest £10 million to continue the Third Sector Early Intervention Fund for 2015-16 to support voluntary groups working to give children the best start in life.
An additional £5 million will be made available to allow strategic funding partnerships (SFPs) that were established in 2013 to help the Government and public sector partners improve outcomes for young people and their families to be extended until spring 2016.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, said: "We are working to give every child in Scotland the best start in life. That's why we're extending funded early learning and childcare, making free school meals available for every child in P1 to P3 and strengthening how public services work together to support children and families and ensure our most disadvantaged young people are not left behind.
"We're also committed to supporting a capable, sustainable and enterprising third sector. This new funding will help deliver a wide range of projects to support families and empower communities, improving the life chances of children across the country and moving us closer to our shared vision of making Scotland the best place to grow up.''
A £20 million Third Sector Early Intervention Fund was established in early 2013, with 96 awards made for a range of organisations and projects.
A further 45 organisations received support through SFPs to enhance or develop work focused on supporting the needs of young people and their families. Both funding streams run over two years, up to March 2015.
Today's announcement means they will continue for a further year until March 2016.
Among the projects currently being supported are Mellow Parenting, which has been able to establish eight new fathers' groups across Scotland to improve parental attachment between fathers and their children, and Mind Mosaic, which has provided play therapy to 25 children and young people and family support to 32 parents/carers and nine kinship carers.
The Scottish Government said that so far well over 3,500 families facing significant challenges have been supported.