Scotland’s ‘root and branch’ review of the care system welcomes Scottish Government plans to improve the lives of care experienced people.
The Independent Care Review welcomes today’s Programme for Government announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which sets out a number of commitments aimed at improving the lives of care experienced people in Scotland.
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister revealed plans that, if put into action, will make a significant difference to the lives of infants, children and young people in care now, and adults who have been in care in the past who may still face disadvantages because of earlier experiences.
As part of its ongoing programme to make change happen during its lifetime, the Care Review has been working in partnership with the Scottish Government for over a year to identify the policy areas that could deliver positive change for the care experienced community in Scotland.
The Programme for Government proposals include:
- Care experienced parents being able to access early years learning provision for their children, once their child reaches the age of two
- Removal of the age cap of 26 for the care experienced student bursary
- Access to a Job Grant up until the age of 26 to help with the costs of starting work
- Free access to dental health treatment up to the age of 26
- Legislative change to support brothers and sisters in care either staying together or continuing to see one another
- Access to discretionary housing benefit to help maintain tenancies
Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement, Independent Care Review Chair Fiona Duncan said:
“The inclusion of these six initiatives in Programme for Government is good news for everyone who tirelessly campaigns for change to the care system.”
“The Independent Care Review has heard almost 5,000 real life stories with more than half of these coming from infants, children and young people in care, as well as from families and care experienced adults – the people who know the most about the day-to-day reality of care.”
“It is credit to the Scottish Government that they are also listening to people with care experience.”
“The six initiatives announced in Programme for Government have the potential to make a positive difference to the lives of many infants, children and young people in care, as well as care experienced adults through opening up new opportunities.”
The Independent Care Review’s Practice Support Manager Thomas Carlton hopes to see the plans put into action:
“This Programme for Government is a success for all who campaign for change, and the Care Review hopes that the Scottish Parliament will work to make sure people’s care experiences are honoured and these plans become a reality.”
“People who experience Scotland’s care system can be affected by a wide range of challenging issues and should receive long-lasting support that meets their needs.”
The Independent Care Review’s change team continues to work in partnership with the Scottish Government and all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities to identify improvements, what needs to stop, and what good practice can be encouraged.
Notes to editors:
- The Care Review’s ‘Stop: Go’ change team is working with the Scottish Government and all 32 local authorities in Scotland to make change happen before the Care Review concludes.
- The Care Review has heard from 4,892 voices across Scotland, with over half having personal experience of care.
- 10 Care Review work groups, made up of people with personal and professional experience of care, are gathering evidence on the successes and challenges in Scotland’s care system.
- Now in its third of four stages, the Care Review will conclude in early 2020.
- Anyone with experience of Scotland’s ‘care system’ can get involved and share their views.