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Last chance to enter The Why Not? Trust’s digital showcase

Posted 18.10.23 by Alice Hinds

The Why Not? Trust is seeking artwork from parents with care experience, which will be shared through a “digital showcase” on social media.

From poems and paintings to videos, scripts, TikToks, sculptures and photographs, all mediums are welcome, but each artwork must explore the issues, questions, themes and emotions that surround what it is like to become a parent as an individual with care experience.

Entries, which can remain anonymous, will be shared on The Why Not? Trust’s social media platforms throughout Care Experienced Week, which takes place from 22-29 October 2023, and the Trust will also create a dedicated space for artwork submissions on its online hub.

Promoting the importance of relationships across the care-experienced community, The Why Not? Trust says the digital showcase will connect entrants with changemakers, highlighting their messages in their own words.

Submissions made by Thursday 19 October will be entered into a draw to win one of two £25 gift vouchers, and while entries made after this date won’t be considered for the prize, they may still be shared with The Why Not? Trust’s online audience.

For more information and to submit artwork, click here for the entry form

 Alternatively, entrants can contact Aimee:

A street mural take shape on a building wall, a bus driving past in the foreground
The mural at Cathedral St, Glasgow

Unique initiative unites care experienced young people through street art

Posted 13.07.23 by Alice Hinds

Five bold and inspiring new murals will soon be on display at locations across Scotland as work on the next phase of an exciting “artivism” project brings together care experienced young people through artwork.

Led by organisation The Articulate Cultural Trust, the nationwide Artivism (Art + Activism): The Gable End Edition project centres around the creation of murals in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kilmarnock, Dundee and Aberdeen, with each one designed to explore and illustrate our “shifting social and cultural landscape” through the eyes of inspiring young people.

A graffiti artist works on a new outdoor mural

Artist Frank Carty

Two murals have already been completed in Kilmarnock and Dundee, and work is now underway at the University of Strathclyde campus, where artists Frank, Mandy and Skye Carty ­– known collectively as Artisan Artworks – will create a hand-painted scene that visually references different periods in history that saw social changes, informed by young people supported by Articulate.

Once complete, it is hoped the Cathedral Street artwork will become a feature of the popular Glasgow Mural Trail (click here for more).

Frank Carty said: “Working with the young people from Articulate has been amazing for me. I’ve worked with them for 18 months and seeing them learn and develop their artistic flare is inspiring. Sign-writing is my family business and sharing some of what we do and approach with the young people is incredible. The challenges they face are harsh and it’s humbling to see their passion and hard work emerging into this large-scale work.”

Supporting marginalised children, young people and families to access and benefit from the arts and culture, Articulate finds ways for people to express themselves in positive ways, while also gaining skills and experience that support positive wellbeing, destinations and learning outcomes, reflecting Article 31 of the UNCRC, the right to create and play.

Laura Frood, producer and The Gable End Edition project lead for Articulate, said: “We are thrilled to have completed two of the five murals and see the commentary across the Scottish towns and cities beginning to take shape. The young people have approached the opportunity with maturity, curiosity and a sense of fun. We know that individually and collectively the murals will help communities think differently about the skills, talents, interests and aspirations of care experienced young Scots.”

All five outdoor artworks are due to be completed by 2024, after which a digital mural trail will be available online alongside images and videos that explain the ethos behind the project.

For more information, click here to visit the ACT website:

A heart with a black outline and segments inside coloured blue pink green and yellow which is a heart within the big heart

New survey launched to help #KeepThePromise

Posted 30.06.23 by Alice Hinds

Charities, organisations and individuals around the country are being encouraged to share their opinions to help shape the next phase of work done by The Promise Scotland.

With less than a year to go before the end of the first phase of the organisation’s work to bring about the change outlined by the Independent Care Review in February 2020, Fiona Duncan, chair of The Promise Scotland (click here for more), has launched a survey to capture thoughts from across the sector.

In an open message, Duncan, also the independent strategic advisor for The Promise, explained that the challenges of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis have meant delivering the original aims of Plan 21-24 would not be realistic by next year, but added that the “task is difficult, but deliverable”.

Building upon the methodology designed to deliver the Independent Care Review (click here for more), the next steps will include a rapid review of the past three years’ work and, over the summer, Duncan will consult on how to co-devise Plan 24-30, with the approaches set out in autumn this year.

Input is now needed to inform how to co-devise Plan 24-30, with contributors asked to consider; what they would you like to see in the plan; the barriers and challenges to #KeepingThePromise, and whether a six-year plan would be just as effective as the current three-year approach.

Duncan said: “The work to co-devise Plan 24-30 will be relentlessly focused on keeping The Promise, with the care community actively and meaningfully involved throughout all stages of the work, including in monitoring and governance.

“Co-devising Plan 24-30 ensures it will both meet the needs of the care community and children and their families and give confidence that it will be entirely deliverable by the paid and unpaid workforce.”

Plan 24-30 will be communicated from spring 2024, mapping out the milestones, timelines, roles and responsibilities required to #KeepThePromise, including a midpoint review of progress in 2027.

To have your say, click here to visit The Promise Scotland’s website:

Two sets of hands hold a wooden sculpture of a home

Foster Care Fortnight: Exploring the essential work of foster carers in Scotland

Posted 25.05.23 by Alice Hinds

Every year, thousands of children in Scotland and around the UK require care because they are not able to live with their birth families, making foster carers essential for providing safe, secure and stable homes.

In Scotland, more than 4,000 children and young people currently use fostering services, yet the number of foster care households continues to decrease, with a 3.5% reduction between 2020 and 2021.

Here, as part of Foster Care Fortnight (15-28 May), which shines a light on the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers, we look at some of the common questions surrounding the role.

Who can become a foster carer?

According to TACT, the UK’s largest fostering charity, most applicants will meet the criteria for becoming a foster carer, and there's no right or wrong background.

“TACT Scotland always needs more foster carers, especially those who can provide teenagers, children and young people with complex needs, as well as sibling groups, with a safe, stable and secure home – where they can build their self-confidence and move on to leading independent lives,” explained the charity. “If a person is over 21, has a spare bedroom and the willingness to provide a caring home to a vulnerable child or young person, TACT will consider their application.”

Sexuality, age, marital status, and whether a person owns their home do not determine suitability as a foster carer, and people from all walks of life are needed to help provide a stable and loving home.

Fostered children come from a diverse range of backgrounds, so having carers with different life experiences is essential, too.

Are siblings fostered together?

Due to Part 13 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2020, and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021, since last year, local authorities have a duty to place siblings with the same foster carer, where appropriate and possible. If a suitable home cannot be found for the whole family, siblings must be placed in foster care near to each other, and local authorities must also actively promote direct contact between siblings.

These guidelines are a step towards achieving The Promise, which was laid out by the Independent Care Review to ensure the voices of children and young people in care are heard and that sibling relationships are protected.

TACT explained: “TACT Scotland has more than 20 foster families caring for siblings. What is absolutely vital is the search for more foster carers who can accommodate sibling groups. In most cases, the best outcome for siblings in care is to stay together in the same family unit – but that is not possible without foster carers who have the space and experience.”

Case study: David, TACT foster carer in Scotland since 2018

Fostering is my full-time occupation. While I am the primary foster carer, my wife (Ruth) and I are very much a fostering team. When we applied to foster, our son was a baby, but we knew we could happily share our home and hearts with more children.

The children currently with us are the third set of siblings we have fostered – there is something especially satisfying knowing you are making it possible for siblings to stay together. It is challenging enough for children to go into care, but to then be separated from their brothers and sisters at such a difficult time must be really tough.

Seeing the unconditional love the siblings have for each other, and the special bond and mutual support they share, reinforces my belief that wherever possible, siblings should always be given the chance to stay together.

What ages are looked after by foster carers?

According to The Fostering Network, every 20 minutes another child comes into care and needs a foster family in the UK.

Children can be fostered from birth, right up until their 18th birthday, and legislation now exists to support young people to stay with their former foster carer up until the age of 21. Around two-fifths of children in care are aged 11 to 15 years, so finding foster carers for teenagers is a key priority.

TACT said: “There is a common misconception that teenagers who are in foster care are difficult, that they are in care because of something that they have done – but this is not the case. This myth is not only unfair on young people, but also the reason that many people rule themselves out of fostering teenagers.

“For people considering fostering teenagers, it is important to try to understand the young person’s background, the challenges that they may be experiencing and the impact that may have on their behaviour. They may have issues with trust and may ‘act out’ as a way of hiding fear or insecurity. As a foster carer being supportive is key, helping the young person to understand and manage their feelings, build their self-esteem, and gain their trust.”

What are the different types of fostering?

Foster carers don’t always look after children and young people full-time. Care can be required for a number of reasons, so foster placements vary to meet each specific need. Types of foster care include:

  • Short term fostering provides temporary care for children and young people whose care plan is uncertain. It is different from “short break” fostering, which allows a break for both the main foster carer and the young person.
  • Long term fostering is for children and young people who will not be returning to their birth family. This type of care requires a commitment from the foster carer to provide a safe home for as long as is needed, which may be up to 18 years old and beyond.
  • Specialist foster care is for children with complex needs, including physical disabilities, medical conditions or learning difficulties.
  • Emergency fostering means foster carers do not have the opportunity to meet the child or young person beforehand, and have to be ready to accept the child when they arrive, which may be with a duty social worker or the police.

Every foster carer is given full training to ensure they have the right skills to look after children and young people, and also receive a tax-free fostering allowance.

Click here for more information on Foster Care Fortnight (15-28 May 2023):

New edition of Insight magazine available now

The winter edition of Insight, Children in Scotland's biannual membership magazine, is published today.

Providing a space for reflection and aiming to drive dialogue, Insight has been created for our members as a key part of our membership benefits offer and is also available by subscription to non-members.

Across the magazine, we profile the individuals pushing for progress and the projects making it possible; look critically at some of the big issues facing children, young people and families, and share new examples of best practice from across the children's sector.

In this issue Kenny Murray, new Director of Inclusion and Engagement at Who Cares? Scotland, tells us why accountability is key; Dr Lynn McNair reflects on the opportunities a later school start age could bring; Alison Watson from Shelter Scotland comments on the record number of children in temporary accommodation; and Magic Torch Comics share how sequential storytelling can help unlock literacy.

Jennifer Drummond, Editor of Insight, says:

As we approach the end of the year, the conversation continues around how to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis that is impacting so many families.

“From addressing stigma and campaigning for equality for those who are Care Experienced, to supporting those facing homelessness or dealing with childhood trauma, this latest edition considers some of the challenges facing our most disadvantaged communities.”

Insight is available for free to all Children in Scotland members, as both print and digital editions.

Click here to find out more about joining us in membership

Non-members can subscribe to receive Insight for just £10 per year (2 issues).

Click here find out more about subscribing to Insight.


Insight: Issue 3

Find out more about what's inside the latest issue. Image by Mary Buchanan

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