The Independent Care Review is disappointed by the decision made at the Inner House of the Court of Session on 27 November 2018 that means a 14 year old boy does not have the right to fully participate in matters relating to his younger brother.
The Independent Care Review has heard consistently that being together where possible and having contact with brothers, sisters and other family members is of huge importance to children and young people who experience care.
Older children often have a significant role in caring for their younger brothers and sisters when parents are unable to or need support to do so themselves. The Independent Care Review has heard that it can be very traumatic when this role is taken away when brothers and sisters become separated. This is further compounded when they are prevented from having contact or prevented from being involved in decisions about contact.
The Independent Care Review has heard from children and young people of how the complexity of the legislation, policies and regulations affects their daily lives, and therefore recognises the need for this to be tested and challenged. It isn’t enough to simply be compliant with the status quo.
The Independent Care Review’s 12 Intentions are based on the voice of children and young people who have experienced Scotland’s ‘care system’. Three of these are central to the experience of the children whose lives will be affected by this legal decision:-
- Families on the edge of care will get the support they need to stay and live together where safe to do so.
- Relationships which are significant to infants, children and young people will be protected and supported to continue unless it is not safe to do so. This recognises the importance of brothers and sisters, parents, extended family and trusted adults.
- Infants, children and young people’s rights will be part of normal everyday life, practice and decision-making.
The Journey stage work will continue, along with Stand up to Siblings, Clan Childlaw and others, to understand what must change to improve care for all infants, children and young people.
Work is also ongoing to ensure that children and young people who experience care know their rights and that these are respected and upheld.