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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Children's charity urges LAC review to evolve with views of young people in care

Written by The Press Association

A children's charity has said Scotland's care system must "evolve" in a new report one year on from the announcement of an independent review into the sector.

Action for Children has urged the review group to consider four key demands raised by those being looked after in a report based on the views of nearly 500 young people in care in Scotland.

These include finding out where funding and resources can be better invested to provide support, identifying what impact existing strategies have had on those in care and defining what "living independently" means in practice for people in care.

A further recommendation is that the review listens to the voices of all those in care, including people with learning and communications needs.

Among the issues raised by the 471 children and young people who responded in the report include a call to not separate siblings, to have one social worker supporting them throughout and to be given equal opportunities in life as children brought up by their parents.

Praise was also given in some areas with one person highlighting having regular one to one meetings and outings such as going to the football or swimming with others saying they found carers supportive and had positive relationships.

Scottish Government statistics found 15,000 children and young people were in care in Scotland in 2015/16.

The review, announced by Nicola Sturgeon at last year's SNP autumn conference, held its first meeting in June and held a series of workshops with young people in care throughout September to find out how to improve the care system.

Paul Carberry, director of Action for Children in Scotland (pictured), 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."

He 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."

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