Changes to provide more support for young people in care commences

Date: 1st April 2015
Category: Care Experienced children

Extra support and strengthened rights for children and young people in care which were introduced in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 came into effect in Scotland on 1st April 2015.

All teenagers in residential, foster or kinship care who turn 16 will now be entitled to remain in their care setting until they reach the age of 21. This is in addition to the Scottish Government's commitment to provide support until reaching the age of 26 for care leavers to help them move into independent living at a pace which suits them.

From 1st April 2015, twenty-four of Scotland's most recognisable public bodies, including the police, the NHS and local authorities have corporate parenting duties towards all care experienced children and young people.

The changes form part of the commencement of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014. This area of the Act was strengthened following extensive work with the coalition for continuing care campaign, which included organisations Who Cares? Scotland, Barnardo's and Aberlour.

Children's organisations note there has been a welcome focus on the rights of looked after children and greater public awareness of the issues they face following the introduction of the 2014 Act.

Together has recommended that the Scottish Government monitor the outcomes of looked after children and care leavers (specifically, monitoring the rates of request, process of refusal and provision of redress in the right of support to care leavers up until 26 in light of the provisions included in the 2014 Act).

Together has also highlighted the need to ensure advocacy is available as a matter of routine to all looked after children and that provision should be independent from service provision wherever possible.