The Independent Care Review (Care Review) has today (5 February) called for a radical overhaul of Scotland’s ‘care system’ and publishes, for the first time, the human and economic cost of the current provision and its failures.
Unprecedented in scope, methodology and model, the Care Review has listened to more than 5,500 experiences.
Over half of those were children and young people with experience of the ‘care system’, adults who have lived in care and their families. The rest came from the unpaid and paid workforce.
These experiences are the heart of the Care Review’s work and guided and shaped its conclusions.
The in-depth examination of all aspects of care in Scotland has revealed a system that is fractured, bureaucratic and unfeeling for far too many children and families. It also doesn’t adequately value the voices and experiences of those in it.
Driven by an unwavering focus on the voice of care experience, the Care Review demands the following changes:
- The balance of power must be upended so that listening to children and young people is always the basis of all decisions made about their lives.
- There must be a focus on building and maintaining life-long relationships – that includes a broader understanding of the risk of not having long term, loving relationships.
- Scotland must parent, not process, children so there is no difference between the lives of children in care and their peers. Care experienced children must not miss out on the kind of childhood that many take for granted and the future that all our young people deserve.
- Families must be kept together wherever it is safe to do so. Families must get the support that is right for them at the earliest opportunity and it must be flexible, consistent, patient and free from stigma. This will mean that more children can live a safe, happy life at home with their families.
The report has identified five foundations for change, with over 80 specific changes that must be made to transform how Scotland cares for children and families as well as the unpaid and paid workforce.
The five foundations are: 1) voice of the children must be heard at all stages; 2) what all families need to thrive; 3) care, that builds childhoods for children who Scotland has responsibility 4) people, with a relentless focus on the importance of relationships and 5) scaffolding, so that the structure is there to support children and families when needed.
The five reports can be viewed here: www.carereview.scot