Duncan to lead review of care system

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Fiona Duncan

Scotland's First Minister has appointed Fiona Duncan to lead an independent review of Scotland's system for looked-after children

Susan Smith's photo

17th February 2017 by Susan Smith 1 Comment

Chief executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland Fiona Duncan has been appointed as the chair to the independent root and branch review of the looked-after child care system in Scotland.

The review will look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos of the care system. It will be driven and shaped by the evidence of care-experienced young people and propose changes to the care system that will improve both the quality of life and outcomes of young people in care.

Duncan has a wealth of experience working across the Scottish third sector having served seven years as director of external affairs at Capability Scotland and held positions at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and WaterAid.

She worked for Think Consulting as an international consultant specialising in not-for-profit fundraising before joining Lloyds TSB Foundation and is a former chair of the Institute of Fundraising Scotland board.

Whilst at Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland Fiona has contributed to the Foundation’s flagship Partnership Drugs Initiative, in particular in relation to its growing focus on the rights and voices of children and young people affected by substance misuse.

Everyone Has a Story, produced by the foundation last year, was an action learning project, co-designed with children and young people and with their rights and voices at its heart.

In addition to her professional experience, Fiona brings personal insight to the review. Her adoptive parents struggled with alcoholism and her father was diagnosed with mental health issues and as a result, she had a chaotic childhood.

The review aims to investgate ways that the system can help children who grow up in care achieve their potential.

Currently, only four per cent of care experience young people go to university, nearly half will suffer mental health issues and almost one third will become homeless. A young person who has been in care is also more likely to be dead by age 21.

The First Minister said: “I am delighted that Fiona will lead the review. Having previously worked within the voluntary sector for more than 20 years and with personal experience of the care system, she will bring a challenging perspective to the role, ensure that the voice of young people is at its heart, and steer it towards a set of recommendations that will deliver real and lasting change.”

Duncan said: “It is an honour to be asked to chair this review. Every child and young person has the right to grow up supported by positive, caring relationships with adults. For children and young people who experience the care system this too often does not happen, reducing their opportunities and also robbing society of all that they have to offer.

“While the review will be complex and the issues challenging, it will be the expertise of children and young people with lived experience of the system who will ensure a focus on what matters. It will be crucial that the review not only hears their voices, but that real change happens as a result.”

Comments

20th February 2017 by Margaret MURRAY

While I am pleased that there is to be a review to improve the lot of looked after children, I have heard all of this before, having been a foster carer for forty three years, I have seen many initiatives fail miserably, children and young people are worse of now than they have ever been. Fostering destroyed me, greed destroyed me and the young people I was caring for were also destroyed in this process. I see you have on board Celcis, they have been at this for a long time, they have not improved things much. I see you have Who Cares involved, they get involved in looked after children's lives far too late and they have no power, regardless what the children would wish to happen if the local authority does not agree with this, Who Cares has no power. I also note that there is never the mention of speaking to adoptive parents, ( I have two adopted children, they are in their forties now) and I also see that there is never a mention of speaking to foster carers. I see that you are going to speak to foster children, looked after children, care experienced children, this jargon is a fashion, it reaches no fundamentals. Take care that the foster children you see are the real thing from a vast variety of sources. I have cared for children, no organisation would ever show you or let you communicate with, these are the children you need to reach. Speak to the people that are actually doing the job of caring for these children and young people, do not only listen to the professionals, speak to normal ordinary folk trying to care for some of the most difficult children in this country. Social work practice stinks to high heaven, these people are not interested in the young people, they are only interested in promotion. They do not promote the best interests of the children, they do not even know the children they are making decisions for, they may never have met them. This is a vast task you have been set, and I wish you well, but dig deep, get down to reality and if you do, you will be stopped in your tracks because looking after, looked after children, supports vast amounts of well paid jobs, so the professionals don't really want a cure.