Supporting children in care
Changes to provide more support for young people in care commences.
Extra support and greater rights for children and young people in care come into effect today (Wednesday).
All teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care who turn 16 will now be entitled to remain in their care setting until they reach the age of 21.
This is in addition to the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide support until reaching the age of 26 for care leavers to help them move into independent living at a pace which suits them.
The changes were introduced by the Children and Young People Act, passed by Parliament in February last year.
The Act also introduced new corporate parenting responsibilities for public bodies including local authorities, police, health boards, post-16 education bodies and Children’s Hearing Scotland. The new duties, also starting today, require corporate parents to work together to enable children in care to overcome barriers and achieve their best.
Acting Minister for Children and Young People Fiona McLeod said:
“Today is an important day for young people in care and care leavers. With extra support and greater rights will ensure that every young person in care knows they are supported in a way that meets their needs while looked after and during their transition towards independent lives.
“These changes were introduced through the Act following extensive work with organisations who help children in care across Scotland. These include CELCIS, Aberlour, Who Cares? Scotland and Barnardo’s.
“The key to supporting young people in care and helping them achieve their best, will be listening to what they need and expect from their corporate parents.”
To celebrate the new duties coming into effect, the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum (STAF) is sending a specially designed card to all corporate parents in Scotland to congratulate them on becoming official Corporate Parents.
Norma Corlette, Chief Executive Officer of STAF said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to show it really cares about some of the most vulnerable young people in our society and to support them to lead happy and successful lives.
“Corporate parenting as a concept has been around for a number of years, this new legislation delivers a great stride forward for all Scotland’s looked after children and young people and care leavers by putting their needs and wellbeing on a statutory footing enabling Scotland’s corporate parents to listen and act upon the voices of young people.”
Ashley Cameron, Who Cares? Scotland Ambassador for Care Leavers said:
“As one of the 21 young people who helped secure these rights, I can’t believe today is actually here. I am pleading with care experienced young people who can use these new rights to do so. I am asking corporate parents to embrace their new role with pride. And together, we are all thanking those Scots who have taken the pledge2listen as part of the Scottish Government-backed campaign to end the stigma associated with care.
“We know Scotland’s care system can be phenomenal. We believe today, and the new rights afforded to young people like me, is the first of many steps we need to take to realise this.”
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, said:
“Today is momentous. Over two years ago Who Cares? Scotland, in coalition with Barnardo’s Scotland and Aberlour Care Trust, kick-started our multi-award winning continue to care campaign, along with 21 of Scotland’s care experienced young people. Today we are united in congratulating the bravery of those 21 young people for sharing their stories and experiences. In doing so, they have changed Scotland’s care system forever.
“All involved in the Scottish Government should be commended for acting on what they heard. Our politicians should be praised for not making this a party political issue – and ordinary Scots should be pleased that we live in a society where we really do endeavour to get it right for every child, regardless of the hand they have been dealt in their young life.”
Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland said:
“These very welcome changes represent the biggest shake-up of the support we give children leaving care for nearly twenty years. The right to stay in ‘continuing care’ to 21, the new duties on public bodies to act as corporate parents to young people in the care system and care leavers and the increase in the number of care leavers who can receive enhanced support after leaving care will help these young people when they need it the most.
“I’m very proud of all the work the Coalition for Continuing Care, led by Barnardo’s Scotland, Aberlour and Who Cares? Scotland, have done to help make this happen, working with the Scottish Government and with MSPs from all parties to achieve a transformation in support for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable young people. Today is a real day of celebration.”
Aberlour’s chief Executive SallyAnn Kelly said:
“These changes will prove transformational for young people who are currently looked after and care leavers. By giving young people the right to stay in care up to 21 and extra support up to the age of 26 when they leave, we are giving them stability and the continuing support of caring relationships at a key time in their lives.
“This is a great day for some of most vulnerable children and young people in our country and we are hugely grateful to government for working so closely with our coalition to bring this about.”
Notes To Editors
The changes were introduced under provisions in the Children and Young People Act last year:http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Greater-rights-for-young-people-in-care-818.aspx
All corporate parents will be required to develop and publish a plan of how they are going to meet their corporate parenting duties and the 2014 Act also introduces a new reporting and accountability structure, with national progress on improving outcomes reported by Scottish Ministers to the Parliament every three years, with the first report due in April 2018.
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