During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCLC Alliance partners continue to meet regularly, strengthening their collective resolve to: collate and share information; to identify and share interesting and effective practice; to offer support directly to care leavers and care experienced young people in Scotland; and to offer support to those agencies and organisations who provide services and care for them.
This briefing paper aims to highlight some of the key issues and some of the solutions that have been identified. Drawing together learning from their own work and from our extensive networks and relationships with partner, it offers a number of recommendations, and prioritises steps to improve the lives of care leavers.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and amplified the precariousness of many care leavers' situations, and the inconsistencies and variations that exist in relation to support and services. Despite the varied range of positive localised responses, the health pandemic has exposed the structural disadvantage and discrimination that many carer leavers face, impacting on their rights to services, supports and provisions required to meet their developmental needs into adulthood. This is in relation to both individual circumstances as well as recognising care leavers' needs as a broader population to whom the State, as corporate parent, at local and national level, has specific duties and responsibilities.
Launched in 2015, the Scottish Care Leavers Covenant is the work of a cross-sector alliance of organisations who support Scotland's corporate parents, carers, practitioners, managers and decision makers in fulfilling their duties to improve the life chances of all of Scotland's care leavers1. The Covenant takes a holistic, young person-centred approach and focuses on the long-term wellbeing needs of care leavers into adulthood. It calls for a range of implementable actions to be taken by Scotland's corporate parents to close the gap between policy intentions and consistent practice. The majority of Scotland's local authorities, colleges, universities and corporate parenting organisations at local and national level have endorsed the Covenant.