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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):

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News: Study finds social work interventions vary widely by Scottish local authority

Posted 2 March, 2023 by Nina Joynson

New research has found that, nationally, 26.5% of children were referred to social work before the age of five, but figures are not consistent across Scotland.

A new study provides a longitudinal view of Scotland’s social work interventions in the first five years of a child’s life.

From data on children born in year ending 31 July 2013, 13,784 were found to have been subject to social work referral due to welfare concerns before their fifth birthday, a rate of 26.5% of children. 

One in 17 (5.9%) children had been subject to a child protection investigation, and one in 26 (3.8%) had been placed on the Child Protection Register. 

The research was carried out by Emeritus Professor Andy Bilson and independent researcher Marion Macleod at the University of Central Lancashire. They used data collected from Freedom of Information requests relating to child protection information systems from all 32 local authorities in Scotland. 

Disparities in intervention

In 2020, the Independent Care Review in Scotland called for fundamental changes to child welfare services. The Scottish Government issued new national guidance on child protection as a result, with the objective of promoting greater consistency across Scotland’s support and protection for children and families. 

However, the study found large disparities in referrals across local authorities. For example, 18.5% of children were investigated for child protection in Clackmannanshire compared to 2.1% in Aberdeenshire. 

It shows that there is considerable progress to be made to create greater consistency in what families can expect from welfare services. 

The likelihood of investigation was largely unrelated to levels of social deprivation. Four of the five local authorities with the highest referral rates were in the least deprived half of all authorities (Dumfries & Galloway, Falkirk, Midlothian and South Ayrshire).

Independent researcher Marion Macleod said: 

“There are huge financial and emotional implications for families involved in social care child referrals and once they are caught up in the system, they are swallowed up by the whole bureaucratic process. 

“Local authorities in Scotland are being put in an impossible position by the Government and are bound by statutory legislation that isn’t tailored to the needs of the local area. Instead, what is needed is more investment into early years, mental health services, community groups and improved parent advocacy so that the families can get help instead of being victimised.” 

Click here to read the full paper

A blue lake with trees visible in the distance. The sky is blue and the image is framed by leaves.

News: Website offering a 'reservoir of hope' launches for care support staff

Posted 10 November, 2022 by Nina Joynson

Following research into experiences with care services, a university-led project has launched a new web toolkit to help support staff and young people considered 'high risk'.

Talking Hope has launched its new website this week, with a toolkit that acts as a 'reservoir of hope' for those working in and supported by services for young people.

The aim is to foster hope and wellbeing amongst staff and young people, and the toolkit is divided into three themes to support development, participation and hope; transitions, change and hope; and hopeful leadership.

Its foundations lie in the understanding that thinking and talking about hope promotes better futures for young people, especially those considered 'high risk' and who have experienced – or will experience – the care system.

The aim is to foster more hopeful conversations focused on setting goals or building motivation to work towards goals, or in exploring factors that young people, their families and support staff find to be important. 

Three phases

The project started in 2018 with aims to promote more positive conversations with and about young people supported by services.

Led by the University of Strathclyde, the first phase involved discussions with young people identified as being ‘high risk’ who are in or have experienced care, as well as social workers, health workers and residential care staff. 

Phase two then involved developing a framework for transitions, to maintain hope during destabilising moments in young people’s transitions into and out of secure care. 

After a break in 2020, phase three launched in October 2021, using the conclusions of the previous phases to create the accessible toolkit as a ‘hope reservoir’; somewhere to 'dip into to remember more hopeful times'.

Dr Emma Miller, project lead at the University of Strathclyde, said:

“Young people with high support needs and their families need to understand what is happening and why it is happening, as well as what the possibilities are – it is important for them to have agency and hope.

“Talking Hope works with people to find the right way of having a conversation, which is different for different people. Whether it was staff telling us how they felt isolated and demoralised during the pandemic, or young people saying they don’t feel they can trust adults to record their conversations, we want people to know that we’re here, we’re listening – and we’re always learning.

“Our website is a way of sharing learning and the voices of young people, families and staff. It includes practical tools and tips that staff can use. We also hope that people will use this website as a kind of hope reservoir – and may feel encouraged to create their own!”

Click here to visit the Talking Hope website

Photo of four people sitting on chairs reading from paper. There is a white projector screen at the back, and a filming camera in the foreground.

News: Care Week to be marked with free performance exploring Scotland's care system

Posted 19 October, 2022 by Nina Joynson. Image credit: Julie Howden.

National Theatre of Scotland will stream a free package of theatre work for three weeks, including a filmed script reading and panel discussion that explores the care system.

To mark National Care Leavers' Week in the UK and Care Experienced Week in Scotland, audiences will have free access to Holding/Holding Ona filmed reading of playwright Nicola McCartney's script.

Available for three weeks from 21 October, the film will be accompanied by a  panel discussion recorded during the Scottish Parliament's Festival of Politics 2022.

Holding/Holding On

With experience as a foster carer, Nicola McCartney met with care-experienced young people and adults, care professionals, and Independent Care Review contributors to develop the script with authentic narratives.

Its reading has been been filmed with a cast of nine performers in scenes that focus on how society treats those in care, those who are care experienced, and the experiences of carers.

It highlights the language used to define them; society’s fascination with media tropes; the entanglement of care with class and poverty, and the role that care actually plays in the care system.

The script's writer, Nicola McCartney, said:

“‘Holding/ Holding On’ gives different perspectives on how we look after our most vulnerable children and where we might go in future.

"The filmed reading of our work-in-progress puts forward ideas about what’s not working, celebrates some of what is and I hope asks some big questions about what each of us needs to do to really make Scotland ‘the best place in the world to grow up’”.

A conversation about care 

Care, Love and Understanding – a panel discussion exploring how society treats young people and adults in the Scottish care system will be released alongside the film.

Chaired by Karen Adam MSP, panellists include Ryan McCuaig, chair of the board at Who Cares? Scotland, and Kenneth Murray and Nicola McCartney from the Holding/Holding On project.

The discussion looks at the role that class and poverty plays in the system and asks where love and compassion come on the list of priorities.

Both Holding/Holding On, a filmed script reading, and Care, Love and Understanding, a panel discussion, will be available freely for audiences from 21 October until 10 November.

Click here to learn more on the National Theatre of Scotland website

"Care experienced young people need love, relationships and community. They deserve the same as all of us: to belong"

13 October 2022

The Home and Belonging evaluation demonstrates why security and support is fundamental for young people with care experience as they move into their own home, writes Jo Derrick

Children in Scotland and Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) are pleased to launch the findings and recommendations of the Home and Belonging Initiative evaluation, undertaken on behalf of Life Changes Trust (LCT).

The report surfaces three key themes that emerge from the evaluation and the collective voices of young people and the teams that support them:

  • The Importance of relationships and support
  • Conceding power and control to young people with care experience
  • The importance of high-quality, suitable housing.


The Life Changes Trust (LCT) was created in 2013 with a £50 million, 10-year endowment fund from the National Lottery Community Fund (the Trust closed in March 2022). It used the money to help drive transformational improvements in the lives of young people with care experience and individuals with dementia and those who care for them.

Their voices, needs and wellbeing are at the heart of all the work they funded, and more information can be found on their website. LCT wanted a Scotland where all young people with care experience see a positive and permanent shift in their quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, empowerment and inclusion.

One of the key principles of LCT was that young people are the experts in their own lives – experts by experience – and that theirs is the most important voice in shaping projects, planning funding and informing local and national policy. Fundamentally their main purpose was to support those voices so that they are heard.

This principle was a crucial one when undertaking the evaluation of the 11 projects involved in the Home and Belonging initiative. The need and desire to embed relationship-based approach to support, along with bricks and mortar, is evident throughout the projects and reflected in the experience of young people involved:

“I’ve met some really nice, understanding and kind people… Relationships come and go but the ones that stay have the biggest impacts as they really care and listen to you and want you to do well” (Alexia)

The importance of a range of supportive relationships is further captured here in relation to Jason, another young person who contributed to the case studies in the evaluation report.

“Jason receives support from a range of different SOYA staff which means he has several supporting relationships in his life. Having a consistent pool of staff provides stability and consistency for Jason and it also gives him the freedom to work with different people and to identify which relationships he values and gains most from.”

I am, of course biased, but I would highly recommend reading this report to hear from young people themselves the impact that participation in these projects has had on them, and the positive impact of delivering these projects to young people has had on the team around them.

Further, this evaluation not only highlights the major themes to emerge from the evaluation, it makes key recommendations for national decision-makers, local decision-makers and people working directly with young people with care experience. It is vital that we see the findings and recommendations from evaluations like these embedded into sustainable practice and respond to the voices of those experts by experience who have so considerately allowed us to represent their voices.

I could further strengthen my case for this evaluation by referring to the importance of belonging as part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and arguing that, if that need is not met, then we may be unable to progress and meet our other needs and therefore make an important case for taking forward a sustainability approach. However, I feel the quote below from Erwin McManus captures the essence of this evaluation and why it is such an important read:

“Home is ultimately not about a place to live but about the people with whom you are most fully alive. Home is about love, relationship, community, and belonging, and we are all searching for home.” (Erwin McManus)

Jo Derrick is CEO of Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum)




The Home and Belonging initiative

Find out about all the learning and recommendations from the three-year project

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About the author

Jo Derrick is CEO of Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum)

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Our Participation Guidelines

Our guidelines for participation with young people were updated in 2022

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2022 Annual Conference

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‘Transfer of power’ vital in securing positive outcomes for care experienced young people

Media Release

12 October 2022

Supportive relationships, appropriate housing, and adults transferring decision-making power are key to securing good outcomes for care experienced young people, according to a report published today.

The report marks the conclusion of the evaluation of the Home and Belonging (H&B) initiative, led by Children in Scotland and Staf (the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum).

The initiative challenged the status quo which sees many care experienced young people endure broken tenancies, isolation in the community and spells of homelessness.

Managed at the outset by the Life Changes Trust, H&B funded 11 projects to explore innovative ways of providing housing support to those with experience of care as they moved into their first home. It aimed to improve experiences of home, connections in the community and transitions from care.

Click here to download and read the Final Report

The report identifies the following as being essential in improving wellbeing and security for care experienced young people:

Adults giving up decision-making power to young people with care experience

  • A rights-based, participative approach to decision-making about anything that affects young people with care experience should become the norm
  • Lessons should be learned about the way corporate parenting boards operate. Young people with care experience must be actively involved with a clear role
  • The voices of young people with care experience must be at the heart of driving change.

Relationships and support

  • Meaningful relationships with trusted professionals, and the value of this in a housing context, must be recognised
  • The impact supportive relationships with professionals had on young people’s ability to engage with services and maintain tenancies, and how positive relationships with peers and in the community translated to wellbeing, also needs to be recognised.

Availability of high-quality, suitable housing

  • There must be a wider range of housing options as young people leave care
  • Housing must have essentials and be in a decent condition when people move in. Young people should also be able to personalise their space.
  • Housing policy and processes should be more trauma-informed and responsive.

A rights-based participative approach prioritising care experienced young people’s voices was central to the project. In its first year, Children in Scotland and Staf worked with three young people with experience of care to develop the project approach.

In Year 3 Children in Scotland employed a Project Assistant with experience of care to support the development of the evaluation and be involved in the final analysis.

David Mackay, Children in Scotland’s Policy & Projects Manager, and Home and Belonging project lead, said:

“Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, Home and Belonging produced many examples of how a model based on participation and lived experience can deliver for care experienced young people.

“On the back of these findings, we believe there is potential for continued embedding of participation and a transfer of decision-making from adults to young people so they can be more involved in decisions about their lives.

“Children in Scotland and Staf would like everyone committed to supporting care experienced young people to take forward the learning from Home and Belonging and support this participative approach. It needs to become the norm.”

Jo Derrick, Chief Executive of Staf, said:

“There are few things in life as important as having a sense of home and belonging. Too often we hear from young people with care experience of the challenges they face having even their most basic needs met in this regard.

"Staf is proud to have worked with Children in Scotland on the Home and Belonging initiative to ensure young people’s voice has been integral to the evaluation and the subsequent key findings and recommendations.

“We stand ready to support Scotland to take these recommendations forward. We want to ensure that relationships, and a recognition that young people are experts in their own lives, are viewed as having equal importance to high-quality provision of housing.”

The report also sets out a series of recommendations Children in Scotland and Staf are asking national and local decision-makers and practitioners and organisations working with young people with experience of care to take forward. These include:

National decision-makers

  • Embed the principles of The Promise into national policy, in particular ensuring this supports ongoing, meaningful relationships
  • Take steps to ensure appropriate housing stock is available across the country
  • Consider how national legislation, policy and guidance can support people to access secure tenancies as they leave care.

Local decision-makers

  • Ensure a diverse range of housing options within local authorities
  • Consider ‘elastic tolerance’ approaches to housing policy to ensure trauma-informed options can be embedded
  • Ensure a trauma-informed, relationship-based approach is available for young people with experience of care as they move into their first home.

Practitioners and organisations working with young people with experience of care:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of housing options and support locally and discuss these with young people with experience of care as they approach the stage of moving to their first home
  • Embed relationship-based practice in work by ensure appropriate CPD opportunities are available.

To support learning from the initiative, advice and recommendations for decision-makers and practitioners and organisations working with people with experience of care has been compiled in the report.

This have been developed from work evaluating the initiative and includes views from the engagement with staff at the funded projects in the final year of the evaluation.

See the Notes for Editors section below for further background information about the project.


Media contact: Chris Small – email

Notes for editors

Project background

The £3 million Home and Belonging initiative was devised by the Life Changes Trust to explore innovative approaches to improving young people’s experiences as they move on from care and into their own homes.

Eleven projects across Scotland received funding from the Life Changes Trust, with the majority funded for a three-year period. All the projects were designed in collaboration with young people with care experience and involved them in their project delivery.

The main aims of the projects were to support young people to feel increased levels of security and stability, and to help them to find a strong sense of home and belonging in their communities. The projects hoped to offer young people more choice and agency in relation to where and how they lived when they moved on from care.

Children in Scotland and Staf (the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) conducted an independent evaluation of the Home and Belonging initiative between August 2019 and August 2022. Through paid employment opportunities, the voices of young people with care experience played a significant role in shaping our evaluation activity and final evaluation outputs.

Click here for more information on the project

About Staf

Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) is Scotland’s national membership organisation for all of those involved in the lives of young people leaving care. Our vision is that the wellbeing and success of young people leaving care across Scotland is indistinguishable from that of their peers in the general population. Together we can make that happen.

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About Children in Scotland

Giving all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do.

By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, we offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. We create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland. 

We do this by listening, gathering evidence, and applying and sharing our learning, while always working to uphold children’s rights. Our range of knowledge and expertise means we can provide trusted support on issues as diverse as the people we work with and the varied lives of children and families in Scotland.

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Home and Belonging final report

Learning from the project and calls about how to support and empower care experienced young people

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Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum

Find out more about Staf, our project partner on the Home and Belonging initiative

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Key findings

A summary from the project of positive ways care experienced young people can be supported when moving into their first home

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Case studies

Four case studies which share stories and insights from across the Home and Belonging initiative

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A breakdown of the evaluation approach which was used across the three years of the project

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Year One Progress Report

Download the report to find out about key learning from the initiative in 2019-20

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The Promise

Find out about work to deliver on the change demanded by the findings of the Independent Care Review, a key area of crossover with the Home and Belonging project

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Life Changes Trust (2013-2022)

Information about the charity that originally managed the Home and Belonging project

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Our projects

Our project work is underpinned by a commitment to children's rights and participation

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Participation Guidelines

Our guidelines for participation with young people were updated in 2022

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News: Funding to help transform family support

Posted 12 July, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond. Image: Children's artwork.

The Scottish Government has released funding to help support families and reduce the number of children going into care.

Local authorities are to receive £32 million in Whole Family Wellbeing Funding over the next year (2022-23). The funding will help build services that focus on prevention and early intervention, ensuring families get the support they need to overcome challenges before they reach crisis point.

Keeping the promise

The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund was announced in September 2021 as part of the Programme for Government 2021-22. It commits to investing £500 million over the course of the Parliament to help support families to stay together, with £50m earmarked for 2022-23.

The Fund aims to significantly reduce the number of children and young people in care by 2030 and will provide support on a range of issues, including child and adolescent mental health, child poverty, drug and alcohol misuse and educational attainment.

It forms part of the Scottish Government’s Keeping the Promise implementation plan, responding to the report from the Independent Care Review that called for a “radical overhaul” of Scotland’s care system.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“It is essential that we provide the right kind of support to enable families to thrive so that, ultimately, fewer children and young people go into care.

“Whole Family Wellbeing Funding aims to transform the way support is delivered by ensuring families can access seamless support that meets their individual needs.

“The £50 million committed in 2022-23 will focus on building the capacity for further investment from 2023-24 onwards. This funding is a critical part of how we will keep the Promise by helping families access the support they need, where and when they need it.

Ms Somerville also outlined the ambition that from 2030, at least 5% of all community-based health and social care spending will be invested in preventative whole family support measures.

Spending decisions

Decisions on how to use the £32 million allocated to local authorities will be made by Children’s Services Planning Partnerships.

Arrangements for distributing the remaining £12 million are still being finalised.

'When supporting families, we need to be prepared to deliver on our promises' - SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive of Aberlour, responded to the announcement of the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund in Issue 1 of Insight magazine.
Click here to find out how to read her comment piece in full 

National Care Service consultation: Concerns over lack of detail for children’s services and unrealistic timeframe

10 November 2021

Children in Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on the National Care Service, raising concerns about a lack of clarity in the proposals, the complexities of the proposed new structure and the timeframe of implementation.

Although recognising the value of creating a more coherent system, we are concerned about how the proposals align with commitments to improve work in a number or areas, including through The Promise and transitions for children and young people with support needs.

Reflecting the concerns from our membership, we highlight a lack of communication with the children’s sector and clarity on how children’s services will be fully integrated.

We share concerns, drawn from our membership and consultation activity, that the key role of the third sector is missed in the consultation documents, and worry the heavy focus on social work and statutory services will only exacerbate the lack of parity between third sector and statutory services.

We also question the rationale of implementing significant structural change at a time when families and support services are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“The proposals are complex, with potentially significant consequences for those who deliver and access children’s and youth services.

"We share our members' concerns over the lack of detail in how the children’s sector and the services currently offered would be integrated into the new structure and both the short and long-term implications of doing so.

“We suggest the Scottish Government undertakes a more detailed analysis of the evidence relating to outcomes for children and young people through the range of structures that currently exist, investing in strengthening those and seeing through their commitments to change and improvement before undertaking such complex and significant structural change.

“With this in mind, we believe the proposed timeframe of introducing National Care Service legislation before summer 2022 is unrealistic and call for the government to review and adjust their plans accordingly.”

Our response also calls for more consideration of the potential impact on funding across non-statutory children’s services, how a new GIRFE (Getting it right for Everyone) approach would work in practice and evidence of a child rights and wellbeing approach to the National Care Service plans.

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A National Care Service for Scotland

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