26 November 2015

CELCIS welcomes Scottish Government's new strategy for looked after children

We warmly welcome Scottish Government's new strategy 'Getting it right for looked after children and young people'. The ambitious goals laid out in this strategy will help us continue apace in making positive and lasting improvements in the lives and wellbeing of Scotland's vulnerable children and families, including children and young people living in and on the edges of care.

The strategy sets out three priority areas of work:

  • Early engagement
  • Early permanence
  • Improving the quality of care

At CELCIS we're delighted to work alongside everyone working in the children's sector to improve outcomes for our looked after children and young people, and with Scottish Government to realise the ambitions of this strategy.

We're passionate about what we do and getting it right for every looked after child and those living on the edge of care. This is why we offer a unique package of support, which is high-quality, innovative and critically ensures effective implementation against the strategy's actions.

We recognise how important the effective implementation of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 is in realising the ambitions of this new strategy, and we'll continue to support the children's sector in making sense of and implementing each Part of the Act. We'll do this by continuing to develop guidance and providing local authorities and corporate parents with the practical support they need. See our resources on:

Early engagement

We welcome the importance of helping children who need it at a young age, and how important it is to intervene as early as possible, particularly for those living on the edges of care. We also welcome the development of guidance for children's services planning, underpinned by effective strategic commissioning.

We know children looked after at home have some of the poorest outcomes, but make up a significant proportion of all looked after children. We don't think that's good enough and the recent study we undertook on behalf of Barnardo's Overseen but often overlooked provided strong evidence that the needs of children looked after at home are not always met in the same way, or with the same priority, as other looked after children. We first need to ask ourselves how we can meet the needs of these families and their children, and any changes we make to the system should better serve children and young people looked after at home. 

A permanent place to live for every child

At the heart of our permanence work is our absolute focus on the needs of individual children. We know that every reduction in delay and drift in the permanence process improves children's outcomes and life chances. We're delighted to see that this focus is reinforced in the strategy. Our Permanence and Care Team will continue to work hand-in-hand with local authorities, the Children's Hearings System, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration, the courts and other organisations involved in the welfare of the child to realise improvements. We will also continue working in partnership with Scottish Government and deliver the ground-breaking PACE programme to support the implementation of this strategy.

Improving the experience of care

CELCIS also welcomes a new degree (level 9) qualification requirement for the residential child care workforce, outlined in the strategy. We recognise that this new qualification will help support and equip the workforce in caring for children and young people with increasing complex needs. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 brings new opportunities to use good quality residential child care in supporting young people into adulthood. What this creates is a need for new skills and knowledge among workers, supervisors and managers. Success requires a well-considered plan to effectively support the implementation of the Standard which will underpin the qualification. At CELCIS, we are working alongside the residential child care sector, Scottish Government and the Scottish Social Services Council on this implementation process.

Speaking about the strategy, Jennifer Davidson, Director said:

'This strategy clarifies what is expected from those whose work impacts on the lives and life chances of looked after children and their families in Scotland. At CELCIS, we work closely with organisations, local authorities and Scottish Government, we regularly encounter passionate individuals and teams who are wholly committed to making systems and practice so much better, as we work together to implement and deliver positive and sustainable change.'

Visit the strategy on Scottish Government website:
Getting it right for looked after children and young people