Dear First Minister
On behalf of Scotland’s care experience children and young people we would like to extend our gratitude to you for pledging to undertake an independent, root and branch review of the care system.
Such a review will look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos and most importantly will be driven by those who have experience of care.
For too many care experienced children and young people the prospects are not good, despite many of those who grow up in care going on to do great things, and the incredible job done by staff and foster carers who work with them.
For example, only six per cent go to university, nearly half will suffer mental health issues and half of the adult prison population are people who lived in care when they were growing up. As you also quite rightly highlighted in your speech, a young person who has been in care is twenty times more likely to be dead by the time they are 25 than a young person who hasn’t. A truly appalling statistic.
No nation has previously undertaken such a review, which gives us the potential to deliver a system in which these children and young people feel that they have some control, rather than one where things are done to them.
These vulnerable children and young people deserve to be loved, to be given the childhood they deserve.
How we deal with our most vulnerable is the mark of how civilized we are as a society. Improving the life chances of those with care experience is an issue that crosses political divides and is one that all of Scotland can sign up to and deliver on.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius
Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland
Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland
Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School
Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations
Liz May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland