Action for Children urges the independent care review to listen to young people in care

CommonSpace’s David Thomson reports on the Action for Children Scotland care system report that was launched at the SNP conference on Tuesday (10 October) 

FINDINGS FROM A report on Tuesday (10 October) have fuelled recommendations that the independent care review must ensure it listens to children and young people who are in care.

Action for Children Scotland launched the ‘Scotland’s Care System: Achieving Life Goals and Ambitions’ and urged the care review to consider recommendations including listening to young people in care and clarifying what “living independently” means for them.

The publication was launched at it fringe meeting at the SNP conference, and comes 12 months after Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, launched the independent review into Scotland’s care at last year’s SNP conference.

“They want a system that allows them to develop positive and appropriate relationships with all those involved in their lives.” Paul Carberry

Paul Carberry, director of Action for Children in Scotland said: “The independent review of Scotland’s care system is a huge opportunity to address any parts of the system that are failing our young people. In our report, we have looked at what care experienced children, and young people have told us.

“Care experienced young people have told us repeatedly what needs to change. They want a system that allows them to develop positive and appropriate relationships with all those involved in their lives. They want people and systems around them that treat them with respect so that they can turn to them in times of need. They want to receive support at ‘transitional’ moments in their care journey. It is vital to get the balance right between having independence and receiving support.”

Carberry added: “Now, more needs to be done to ensure that all the existing laws, policies, strategies, guidance, programmes and initiatives that have been committed to are fully implemented and delivered. The care system must evolve, in design and practice, with what young people, professionals and carers who live and work in it believe is needed.

“The independent review of Scotland’s care system now has the opportunity to do this and make a real difference for children and young people in care.”

“The independent review of Scotland’s care system now has the opportunity to do this and make a real difference for children and young people in care.” Paul Carberry

Other recommendations that Action for Children in Scotland would like the review to take on board include identifying whether existing funding and resources can be better invested to provide sufficient financial or in-kind support for young people in care, to enable them to “fulfil their potential”.

Finally, Action for Children Scotland would like the review to identify the impact of existing strategies, initiatives and programmes on improving the lives of children and young people.  

The research in the report is based on the views of almost 500 young people in the care system who have been supported by Action for Children in Scotland.

Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, was at the fringe event for the launch of the report. He said: “It is a very important report that captures the outlook and the perceptive of young people in the care system.

“It is absolutely vital that we listen to that perceptive, understand it and do all that we can to address those issues.” John Swinney

“It is absolutely vital that we listen to that perceptive, understand it and do all that we can to address those issues.

“Fundamentally, the independent review has got to listen to the independent voices of young people who experienced care.

“We have got to make sure that is done properly, that it is done compulsively and this is a very important contribution to that process.”

Picture courtsey of David Thomson

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