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Scotland publishes plan that aims to build a country that cares

 

Plan 21-24 is the first of three plans created on the back of the Independent Care Review

A new plan has been published which aims to build a country that cares.

Published today (31 March), Plan 21-24 is the first of three plans that will plot out what will change between now and 2030 to fully implement the conclusions of the Independent Care Review, published on 5 February 2020.

Thousands of care-experienced babies, infants, children, young people, families and the paid and unpaid workforce shared, often difficult and upsetting, stories with the Independent Care Review, in hope of change. The review’s conclusions demanded vast and urgently needed change and the report called ‘the promise’ presented a vision for how Scotland must care for its children and families. It was met with wide support from the care experienced community, organisations and individuals across sectors,

Work to #KeepThePromise will be driven by a series of three consecutive plans. Each plan will cover a three-year period and outline the priorities and action for that timeframe, and each will build on the progress made by the one before, to make sure transformational change happens across the entirety of what the Independent Care Review demanded.

Plan 21-24 focuses on the period from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2024. It provides key priorities and areas of focus under which organisations will work to achieve the required change over the next three years. 

Fiona Duncan, chair of The Promise Scotland, said: “Thousands of children, young people and families with experience of the ‘care system’ told the Care Review their story, often sharing intimate and traumatic parts of their life, in the knowledge that their world may not change as a result - but that life could be different for generations to come. These stories shaped the entire Independent Care Review and its conclusions. These stories inspired Scotland to #KeepThePromise.

"Plan 21-24 is Scotland’s route map and guiding light for next three years. It details the first phase of change towards building a country that cares, with services that work to meet the needs of children and families, when and where they are needed.

"And If Scotland lives up to its commitment, and ‘where children are safe in their families and feel loved they stay – and families are given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties which get in the way’, then those to whom The Promise is kept will know only care and compassion, not a ‘care system’ – but may never know that transformation was powered by the generosity and selflessness of all those who gave their stories in hope of change for people they may never meet.”

The work of the Independent Care Review’s succession body, The Promise Scotland, commenced in July 2020 mid-pandemic, with an intense period of engagement with all organisations required to #KeepThePromise. More than 100, including local and national government, national bodies and agencies, local and national organisations across public, third and private sectors and those with statutory responsibility for children and families, directly engaged with The Promise Scotland team and provided plans, reports and survey responses to outline what they would do to #KeepThePromise, the support they needed and what help they could offer. 

The Promise Scotland analysed all of this engagement, benching it against the ambition of the promise and sequencing the conclusions to ensure the right things happen first - and to make sure all the changes required for Scotland to #KeepThePromise happened by 2030. To ensure the impact of the pandemic was as fully understood as possible, the commitments made were considered in the context of the impacts reported by children and families themselves, and ongoing quantitative data collection on service delivery and support, for children and families throughout 2020.

Plan 21-24 will be accompanied by three rolling Change Programmes, detailing how the change committed to will be achieved, by who and in what order.

The five priority areas and actions for Plan 21-24 are as follows:

A good childhood – by 2024

• Family therapies: All families will have direct and clear access to family therapies and specific supports across a range of issues, so that accessing support is seen as something that a range of families may need throughout life.

• Right to education: Care experienced children and young people will receive all they need to thrive at school. There will be no barriers to their engagement with education and schools will know and cherish their care experienced pupils. School improvement plans will value and recognise the needs of their care experienced pupils with robust tracking of attendance and attainment so that support can be given early. Care experienced young people will be actively participating in all subjects and extra-curricular activities in schools. The formal and informal exclusion of care experienced children from education will end. Schools will support and ensure care experienced young people go on to genuinely positive destinations, such as further education or employment

• Relationships: All children living in and around Scotland’s ‘care system’ will be maintaining safe, loving relationships that are important to them. There will be no barriers to ‘contact’ and children will be supported to have time with people they care about.

• Brothers and Sisters: Scotland will stop the practice of separating brothers and sisters, unless for reasons of safety. Relationships between brothers and sisters will be cherished and protected across decision making and through the culture and values of the people who care for them.

• Youth Justice: The disproportionate criminalisation of care experienced children and young people will end. 16- and 17-year-olds will no longer be placed in Young Offenders Institutes for sentence or on remand. There will be sufficient community-based alternatives so that detention is a last resort. Children who do need to have their liberty restricted will be cared for in small, secure, safe trauma informed environments that uphold their rights.

• Advocacy: All care experienced children and their families will have access to independent advocacy at all stages of their experience of care. Advocacy provision will follow the principles set out in the promise Care experienced children and young people will be able to easily access child centred legal advice and representation.

•  Moving on: Decisions about transitions for young care experienced people who move onto independent living or need to return to a caring environment, will be made based on individual need. Each young care experienced adult will experience their transition as consistent, caring, integrated and focussed on their needs, not on ‘age of services' criteria. Youth homelessness will be eradicated. Housing pathways for care experienced young people will include a range of affordable options that are specifically tailored to the needs and preferences of young people.

• Physical Intervention: All care experienced children, wherever they live, will be protected from violence and experience the safeguard of equal protection legislation. Restraint will always be pain free, will be used rarely, and only when required to keep a child safe. There will be well communicated and understood guidance in place that upholds children’s rights and reflects equal protection legislation. The workforce will feel supported to respond to behaviour in a trauma informed way that reflects a deep understanding of the children in their care.

Whole family support – by 2024

• Family Support: The 10 principles of intensive family support will be embedded into the practice (planning, commissioning and delivery) of all organisations that support children and their families, directly or indirectly

• Peer and community support: There will be a consistent, national approach to ensure there are places in every community for parents of young children to meet other local parents, to stay and play with their children, and get support and advice.

• Service Integration: Scotland’s family support services will feel and be experienced as integrated to those who use them.

• Family therapies: All families will have direct and clear access to family therapies and specific supports across a range of issues, so that accessing support is seen as something that a range of families may need throughout life.

Supporting the workforce - by 2024

• Workforce Values: There will be a national values-based recruitment and workforce development framework in place and adhered to by all organisations and professions involved in supporting children and their families.

• Trauma-informed: Organisations that have responsibilities towards care experienced children and families, and those on the edge of care, will be able to demonstrate that they are embedding trauma informed practice across their work and within their workforce.

• Relationships: There will be no blanket policies or guidance that prevent the maintenance of relationships between young people and those who care for them. Settings of care will be able to facilitate the protection of relationships that are important to children and young people

• Workforce support: A new framework of support will be in place to ensure people involved in the care of care experienced children and young people feel valued, encouraged and have supportive relationships for reflection with high quality supervision and environmental conditions.

Planning - by 2024

• Planning: Scotland will have a national, strategic planning process in place that ensures that children who are cared from away from their family of origin ‘belong to a loving home.’ The planning process will reflect the needs of Scotland’s children and young people whilst operating with the expectation that more children will remain with their families.

• Investment: Investment in the lives of children and families will be considered strategically and holistically in the context of their experiences. 26 The Human and Economic Cost modelling that underpinned Follow the Money and The Money reports will be embedded into organisational and budgeting processes across Scotland. That process will have involved organisations working together to spread investment and align budgets

• Information Sharing Organisations with responsibilities towards children and families will be confident about when, where, why and how to share information with partners. Information sharing will not be a barrier to supporting children and families.

Building capacity - by 2024

•  Legislation: Over the course of the next Parliamentary term, there will be identifiable progress made towards ensuring Scotland’s legislative framework around the breadth of the ‘care system’ is coherent and cohesive, upholds the conclusions of the Independent Care Review and is compliant with the UNCRC..

• Children’s Hearing System: The Children’s Hearing System will have gone through a redesign process. That redesign process will bring together children and families, and organisations that hold the responsibility to rethink the structures, processes and legislation that underpin the hearing system. The aim will be to ensure there are coherent, cohesive and collaborative proposals on an operating framework for The Children’s Hearings System that has been designed with children and families

• Inspection and Regulation: A new, holistic framework for inspection and regulation that values what children and family’s value, will have been scoped and developed.

•  Policy Coherence: There will be cohesive alignment in the policy initiatives and frameworks across Scotland. Policy development across Scotland will reflect the realities of people’s lives and create a coherent policy environment. The focus of the 21-24 period will be on implementation and alignment not inquiries and reviews.

• Data Mapping and Collection: Scotland will have a cohesive central picture of all data on the processes and systems that directly and indirectly impact on children and their families, including wider socio-structural factors. The data picture will have been used to fully align data systems, collection and analysis methodologies to what matters to children and families, and the needs of those who take decisions on how best to support children and their families

•  Governance Structures: Scotland will have a cohesive central picture of all data on the processes and systems that directly and indirectly impact on children and their families, including wider socio-structural factors. The data picture will have been used to fully align data systems, collection and analysis methodologies to what matters to children and families, and the needs of those who take decisions on how best to support children and their families

To access Plan 21-24, with further details of the route map ahead, visit the website.


 

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