Resources for families with children

Advice and Support for Non-UK Nationals

Does Your VISA State ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’?

Help for families

The NRPF Network has information for migrant families about where they can get help with housing and financial support when they have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). The online tool is at Housing and support options for migrant families | Compas (

Use this tool to find out if a person:
  • May be able to claim benefits and social housing
  • May be able to get help from social services
  • Might need to seek immigration advice

Although this tool was developed in England, information is included for the situation in Scotland too.

Education and help at school 

All children, regardless of their immigration status, can receive state school education whilst they are of compulsory school age. There are very few exceptions but full information can be found in the COSLA Migrants Rights and Entitlements Guide

Free School Meals

Your child might get a free lunch in school, early learning or childcare if you’re experiencing financial hardship and your immigration status means you cannot get help from the government. You can find the relevant information for your local council at School meals –

Best Start Foods (information updated 26th February 2024)

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can help you buy healthy foods like milk or fruit.

Best Start Foods if you have no access to public funds –

You may be able to get Best Start Foods for your child even if you cannot get certain benefits because of your immigration status. 

You can get Best Start Foods if you meet all of these conditions:

  • you’re responsible for at least one child under 3 who’s a British citizen (not including pregnancies)
  • if you are a single adult household, with income of £1,652.25 or less a month after tax or, if  a couple, with income of £1,954.80 or less a month after tax.
  • you’re not able to claim public funds due to your immigration status
  • When you apply, you need to tell Social Security Scotland that you’re applying under these conditions.

They’ll ask you to provide some supporting information for each of these conditions.

The Scottish Refugee Council provides a Family Rights Service which supports parents and their children from the start to the end of the asylum process.

Me 2 Scheme for 2 year-olds

All local authorities in Scotland now offer ‘Early Learning and Childcare’ provision for 2 year olds whose families are in receipt of support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. 

The Aberdeen City Council leaflet has more details on this.

If you are seeking asylum and have school age children

If you are waiting for an asylum claim to be decided and living in ‘Section 95’ housing (i.e. receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999), you are eligible for  free school meals.

Baby boxes
The Scottish Government provides a free baby box to every new baby that is born and living in Scotland. The box contains essential items for the baby and can be used for the baby to sleep in. The mother will receive the box in weeks 32 to 36 of her pregnancy and can apply for it through her midwife. All babies will be eligible to receive the box, regardless of their or their parents’ nationality and immigration status. As the box can only be applied for through a midwife, only women engaged with health services will be able to receive it.