The Scottish Government has today (5 October) published new Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland to guide all practitioners supporting children who are in or on the edge of secure care.
The input of children and young people in secure care and with experience of care was at the heart of the development of the standards. These were co-produced by the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) with contributions from secure care staff, local government, COSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), the STARR Group - Scotland’s only curated space for secure care experienced people - and other key stakeholders.
The guidance seeks to deliver a consistent, unified approach to caring for vulnerable children in all council areas and to all children placed in secure care in Scotland. It aims to ensure support is provided before, during and after a stay in secure care and that the rights of children and young people, who will often face extreme vulnerabilities and risks in their lives, are respected.
Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd said:
“Going into care is distressing. Some children will not be able to show their feelings or talk about what they are going through. That is why it is important that we have systems in place that make transitions less traumatic.
“The Standards are fully co-produced by young people living in secure care and those with care experience and are written from the child’s perspective to ensure young people’s voices are heard, their rights are adhered to and they are treated with respect.
“The Standards reinforce our commitment to the Scottish Government’s Getting it Right for Every Child policy, supporting the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the important asks of the Independent Care Review Promise published earlier this year. Above all our young people must feel safe, loved and cared for in a compassionate, nurturing environment.”
Beth-Anne Logan, a secure care experienced person and Chair of STARR, was a member of the Pathway and Standards working group and said:
“These Standards are critically important as they show both professionals working in the sector and young people and their families what standard of care they should expect to have should they enter secure care. They focus on the child’s journey before, during and after secure care and how that should look and feel.
“Growing up in secure care, we wished we had a tool such as the Standards to help us know our rights and what to expect off the people caring for us as secure can be a scary place sometimes – especially when you first move in there. These Standards should be a beacon of hope, and we should all be striving for the best possible care for Scotland’s children.”
Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said:
“This is an exciting and pivotal moment for Scotland and all involved with children in or on the edge of secure care as we launch the first ever Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland. Every child and young person should have the right to know what to expect from their support and experiences, before, during and after any stay in secure care.
“By co-producing these Standards with children and young people and their central involvement throughout all related processes, we have ensured they are based on what is most important to them and what had the greatest impact on their care experience – both positive and negative.
“We recognise that just sharing these Standards is not enough, and that the pace of implementation, challenges and opportunities will look different for everyone. The launch of the Standards is just the start of the journey and it will be the drive and determination of all those linked to children experiencing extreme needs, risks and vulnerabilities in their lives who will be responsible for making them a success.”
“This could not have happened without the hard work and input of so many, especially the children and young people themselves. We are hugely grateful to each and every one of you.”