'Your right to continuing care' - new information materials published
Together, young people with experience of care, CELCIS, the Care Inspectorate and Clan Childlaw, have produced a new information resource to help inform care experienced young people about continuing care.
The resources are also designed to help their carers, and the professionals responsible for their care, to understand their duties to provide continuing care, and are better able to support the children and young people they care for to understand their rights, what they are entitled to, and why it's important, so that they are aware of what the local authority who shares responsibility for looking after them needs to provide and consider for a young person's care until they are 21.
In Scotland, Continuing Care is a policy and legal right which means that all children living with foster carers, kinship carers or in residential care on or after their 16th birthday are entitled to stay living in the same place with their same carers up until their 21st birthday. All young people living in care have a right to know about and understand their right to continuing care.
Despite local authorities statutory duties and young people’s rights to continuing care, recent research shows that there can be a reticence and a lack of early conversations to discuss with young people in care what care and support they might want as they grow from childhood into adulthood through their teenage years. Each year, hundreds of young people may become newly eligible for continuing care support, and we know that not all will be aware of their rights and entitlements.
Speaking about the new information materials, Joanne McMeeking, Head of Improving Care Experiences at CELCIS, said: “We are delighted to be publishing this new national information. The creation of the project has been an exciting one to be part of and the contribution of everyone has been invaluable: these materials are designed for young people by young people with their own experiences of care.
"For young people, continuing care should mean less, not more change and working to avoid rupturing the established, trusted, and loving relationships young people have with their carers. Continuing care can provide consistency, predictability, and appropriate support as a young person develops and grows into adulthood.
"We hope these accessible materials can be used to start early conversations between young people and those who care for them. It is vitally important that young people are supported to think through their options, are given time, and are able to discuss these with someone they trust.”
All the designs, stories and illustrations have been co-created with young people with experience of care. Centred around eight stories that explore different scenarios, and featuring the wise words of Jelly the Cat, the materials help to explain what it is important to consider, and who continuing care applies to. The new free, national information materials include online information with videos, innovative ‘augmented reality’ digital media, and a set of postcards to encourage and help support conversations to be had between young people and the people they trust about how they want to continue to be supported. Organisations including the Care Inspectorate, The Fostering Network and Who Cares Scotland all have packs of postcards detailing the stories, with QR code links to more detailed information.