This week marks the Care Experienced Week (22nd to 28th October), providing a chance through a series of events to celebrate all those who are care experienced.
We cannot underestimate the amazing contribution these amazing people make to our society. Not only the around 15,000 currently in care, but all those who have left care.
The challenges many of them have faced is immense. Only six per cent of those who are care experienced go to university, nearly half will suffer mental health issues. Half of the adult prison population are people who lived in care when they were growing up. Worst of all 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.
Every young person should have an equal opportunity to succeed in life, no matter their circumstances, and we should celebrate the progress that has been made that has allowed many of our young people who grow up in care to do great things in life.
As highlighted there are however still many challenges facing young people in care, and their opportunities are all too often not the same as other young people in Scotland. The care system must and can do better by our most vulnerable children and young people. They need to know they are loved and feel cared for, and we need to create a system that puts love for the children it cares for at its heart. That is why the current independent review of Scotland’s care system is to be greatly welcomed.
So let us celebrate the achievements of not only those who have succeeded, but shed a light on those who struggle, and use the first Care Experienced Week to press for more support for these uniquely vulnerable individuals.