A new report on the life chances of care experienced people in Scotland has been published by Scottish Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale and Ashley Cameron, researcher, today (30 July 2018).
Falling Through the Cracks focuses on the loss of young lives; the implementation of Continuing Care (Part 11 of the Children and People (Scotland) Act 2014); and foster care provision.
Data obtained from some local authorities shows that only 6 per cent of young people eligible for continuing care after their 18th birthday have requested or been offered the option to remain in care.
Welcoming this new spotlight on the lives of children and young people with experience of care, Claire Burns, Director of Programmes and Services at CELCIS, said:
"Improving the lives of all children and young people who have experience of care is essential if we are to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities to thrive. Ten years on from the 'Sweet 16' report from Scotland's Children and Young People's Commissioner, it's clear that there is still a way to go in changing Scotland's culture of how we care. Care experienced people, local authorities and other care providers have long been highlighting the challenges of implementing these ground-breaking reforms, and this report helpfully drives the issue up the political agenda. What's needed now is a thorough and consistent implementation of Continuing Care, to help us all understand why this has been made possible for some but not all who need it, just what's getting in the way, so that we can ensure every young person has the option of "Staying Put".
"There is no doubt that the finances of public services are under pressure, and there needs to be an increase in investment in the children's social care sector as a whole, from effective, early family support right through to aftercare. The aims of the Continuing Care legislation will only be realised if local authorities have the resources they need, matched by the political will at a local and national level to address longstanding cultural and structural barriers to supporting care experienced people.
"There is a significant lack of data about the lives and wellbeing of care experienced people, including reliable numbers on early deaths of care leavers. Without this information, it is challenging to understand fully the impact of policies and services. A detailed review of the implementation of Continuing Care should help us get to some of the answers and solutions we need.
"All Scottish society will benefit greatly from care experienced people reaching their full potential, through meaningful, extended and relational support."
The report's authors make ten recommendations to improve outcomes for care leavers.