In a letter to the media, the Scottish Children's Services Coalition repeats its call for care experienced children and young people to have access to independent advocacy:
As a coalition of organisations that support vulnerable children and young people, we were delighted to note recent Scottish Government legislation supporting siblings in care to be kept together, where appropriate.
However, over the years a flurry of legislation has been implemented to improve the lives of those who are care experienced, most recently with these new rules, and yet in many cases this has failed to be upheld.
To ensure such rights are protected, an independent advocate can help individuals access these, the benefits that they are entitled to and guide them through legal processes if that is what is required.
The outcome from the recent Independent Care Review welcomingly pointed to ensuring that by 2024 all care experienced children and their families will have access to independent advocacy at all stages of their experience of care.
As a nation we must aim to ensure that care experienced children, young adults and families can navigate the system of care without such extra support. However, advocates will be required for as long as the care system remains complex and does not provide these individuals with the support that they need.
If our care system and those with an involvement with care experienced people are committed to improving their lives, a promise made clear in the Care Review, access to independent advocacy is crucial in delivering this.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:
Kenny Graham, Falkland House School
Lynn Bell, LOVE Learning
Stephen McGhee, Spark of Genius
Niall Kelly, Young Foundations