Breaking down barriers for care experienced people

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David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland on the challenges face by care experienced young people and how he believes its new Corporate Parenting Plan can help

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24th October 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

A study by the Centre of Social Justice found that over half (57%) of care leavers identified money management and avoiding debt as a difficulty when leaving care.

As a new public service putting money in the pockets of those who need support it is vital we are able to do this in a way that supports care experienced people during challenging times of their lives.

Social Security Scotland will be responsible for delivering 16 benefits when it is fully operational, which gives us a unique opportunity to make sure that it meets the needs of care experienced people from the outset.

As the chief executive of Social Security Scotland, I want all interactions with our system to be flexible and supportive so that care experienced young people receive the benefits they are entitled to.

David Wallace

David Wallace

We will continually look for ways to make sure that our service is as inclusive as possible and that it treats care experienced people with dignity, fairness and respect

During Care Experienced Week, we published our very first Corporate Parenting Plan. This was developed working directly with young people who have care experience and I had the opportunity this week to meet with some of them at STAF’s Celebrating Connection event.

I was struck by hearing about the impact of situations like contacting a public service and having to explain your living situation again and again or not having enough space on forms to fill in your previous addresses.

The genuine enthusiasm and optimism of the young people about this plan was heartening. I truly believe that this plan can make a real difference for all care experienced people who will use our social security service.

Having a corporate parenting plan is not just a legal obligation for Social Security Scotland. We want to actively use this plan to break down barriers, improve access and ensure care experienced people get a high-quality service that meets their needs.

Central to our plan is providing opportunities. Key pieces of work we will be taking forward are training all of our people to raise awareness of the challenges care experienced people can face and strengthening our relationships with third sector groups who support them. 

We also recognise the responsibility we have to support care experienced people entering employment. This is why we will providing mentoring programmes, including the introduction of a Care Leaver Internship Scheme.

This is just the start though. We will continue to work with people to make sure that we delivering on the commitments in this plan and continually look for ways to do more to make sure that our service is as inclusive as possible and that it treats care experienced people with dignity, fairness and respect.

David Wallace is chief executive of Social Security Scotland.