Launch of Scotland's Care Review 2020

What will the new care review mean for vulnerable children and young people in Scotland?

We wait with bated breath for the 5th of February.

Three years, 5500 people and £5m+ of financial investment will culminate on this day as the Independent Care Review publishes its concluding report; calling on the government to make alterations to the way that Scotland looks after children in the care system. But will the ambition and scale of the recommendations match that of the review itself?

This review has been monumental; conducted over three years and in four stages, with ten working groups set up to investigate issues such as how to make Scotland the ‘Best Place in the World’ to grow up, it certainly had an ambitious remit.

We don’t know yet what the conclusions will say - and can only hope that they are as visionary as the original terms of the review were - but we do know that the findings will guide the government in their work on behalf of vulnerable children for many years to come.

Knowing that the government’s future investment, innovations and initiatives will be heavily influenced by the findings published on the 5th of February, we are waiting in hopeful anticipation that the review will make some inescapably explicit and doable suggestions for how to improve life for children in care.

The need couldn’t be greater, and these children couldn’t deserve it more. Mandy Rhodes (Editor of Holyrood magazine) put it so well in her recent article:

“I don’t want more platitudes. I want a blueprint. A roadmap that offers solutions, not more avenues to explore. We don’t need another report that spells out the mistakes or points out the appalling outcomes for care-experienced young people. The suicides, the drug addiction, the homelessness, the prison sentences, the underachievement, the failure to thrive. The clear consequences of separating siblings. We know them. We’ve known them for years.”

So, what should this blueprint, this long-awaited roadmap focus on?

At Home for Good we are driven by our ambition to see every child thriving within a family who can support them for life. There is much to do to achieve this but here are a few themes that we will be looking out for when we read the concluding report.

Firstly, we’d love to see a focus on ensuring that there is a well-supported family available for every child in need of one – whether that is through fostering, kinship care or adoption. For example, Scotland needs another 580 foster carers to meet the needs of children across the nation. Now is the time for the government to invest in targeted recruitment efforts to ensure that social workers always have great options when looking for a home for a child in need.

Sadly, the outcomes for children in care are not well-understood and as a result, it’s hard to make decisions for children based on evidence of what works best for them. Too many young people leave the care system and go on to experience hardship, including unemployment and homelessness, in their adult life. This comprehensive care review is a big opportunity to change this. We would love to see an emphasis on understanding the long-term impact of being in care and the affect that different placement decisions have on the future well-being of children. Political agendas rarely look beyond five-year cycles, but we need long-term studies that track the experiences and outcomes for children over 20+ years so that every child is given the opportunities to thrive in adulthood.

Finally, we’ll be looking out for recommendations that help parents and carers who look after vulnerable children, get the support they need. For many families, accessing timely and appropriate support for their child can be a big challenge. Our hope is that the care review’s recommendations will move away from a system whereby the support a child receives can differ according to their care plan instead of their needs towards one that truly places the child at the heart.

You can find out more about the care review by visiting https://www.carereview.scot/

Author:
Home for Good


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