Review promises to transform growing up in care in Scotland

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Care Review chair Fiona Duncan

Five people with experience of care will sit on the 13-strong discovery group set to work out how to transform growing up in care in Scotland 

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31st May 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

A thousand Scots with experience of growing up in care are to play a major role in reforming the system.

The Independent Review of Scotland’s Care System will help deliver the “world’s best care system” according to its chair Fiona Duncan.

The review comes after years of lobbying from charities and care experienced youngsters, who say the current system is failing young people.

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive of charity Who Cares? Scotland, said frequent moves between home, children’s units and foster care are hugely disruptive and examples of how the system fails young people.

“We have lost  a young person from a care background every month since Christmas, all under 25,” he said. “Kids can suffer up to 30 moves of home and be cut off from siblings.” 

The facts about growing up in care in Scotland

A third of young offenders identify as having been in care at some point in their life and nearly a third of adult prisoners, 31% also self-report being in care as a child.

Almost three quarters (73%) of looked after young people leave school before the age of 16 compared with 27% of all school leavers.

On top of this, only 35% of care experienced young people leave with 1 or more qualifications at SCQF level 5 or better, while 85% of all school leavers achieve this level.

A lack of qualifications and belief in ability prevents the majority of care experienced young people from entering university. In fact, only 4% of looked after young people go straight on to higher education, compared to 39% of their non-looked after peers.

This week Fiona Duncan announced the Discovery Stage of the review and the 13 members of the Discovery Group, including five care experience people nominated by a range of charities.

The group will be responsible for guiding and supporting involvement of people and organisations looking at two questions: what we mean by a root and branch review; and what good care and protection looks like.

She said: “We really can, will and must deliver a review that changes lives and is transformational. Without the voice of care experience, this review would not be happening – and without that voice, it will not deliver.

“Many young people, their families, and professionals involved in the care system have an important contribution to make, and I look forward to learning from them in the coming weeks and months.

“The review will help Scotland to deliver on its vision to be the best place in the world to grow up, particularly for the 15,000 children and young people in care today, and for those children and young people that will be in care in the future.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also at the launch.

She said: “The care system must and can do better by our most vulnerable children and young people.”

Tthe Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde has been appointed to provide support and coordination of the delivery of the Review.

Claire Burns, director of programmes and services at CELCIS, said: “Today’s announcement by Fiona Duncan is a welcome milestone in the project. The Review creates a real opportunity to change the future of child care in Scotland for the better. It builds on other existing initiatives and projects throughout Scotland, with people and organisations involved in the care system, which demonstrate what can work to make lasting improvements.”

The review is keen to hear from people with experience of growing up in care or a general understanding of the care system

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