Every child should be able to enjoy a safe, fulfilling, secure and loving childhood. Yet for far too many young people in care, and through absolutely no fault of their own, that’s not the case.
Only four percent go to university, nearly half will suffer mental health issues, almost one third will become homeless – and a young person who has been in care is more likely to be dead by age 21.
These statistics are simply not acceptable. We are determined to change the care system to benefit generations to come.
Here’s how we’re supporting care experienced young people and kinship carers.
1. We are undertaking an independent root-and-branch review of the care system. The review will look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos of the system. And it will be driven and shaped by care experienced young people themselves.
2. The Scottish Government has committed to having a conversation with 1000 care experienced people to inform improvements to our care system.
3. Care experienced young people are now entitled to full university bursaries, with a place guaranteed for those who fulfil the minimum entry requirements.
4. By 2021 we want looked after children to be just as likely to be in college, training or a job as other children. A new fund will be developed to provide specific support for young people who have been in care to support them into work, training or learning.
5. We’ve increased the age which children are entitled to stay in their current care placement to 21. And we’re providing additional support up to the age of 26 for care leavers to help them live independently.
6. From April 2018 all care experienced young people have been exempt from Council Tax.
7. We will launch a new Improvement Programme that will bring together services responsible for looked after children, young people, and care leavers, to test ways to raise the average age at which a young person leaves care.
8. We have provided funding of £10 million to local authorities to ensure that kinship care allowances are raised to the same level as allowances for foster carers.