Children’s rights

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As a provider of education to boys with additional support needs, we very much share the concerns expressed (your report, 15 July), that of the 12,533 looked-after children with additional support needs, only 6,374 have been assessed for a Co-ordinated Support Plan.

This is despite the fact that there is a presumption, bound by legislation, that children in care who have additional support needs should be assessed accordingly.

Children and young people with care experience are some of the most vulnerable in our society and have much poorer educational outcomes and life chances when compared with their peers.

As an example, only 12 per cent of school leavers from a care background secured one or more Higher, compared with 59 per cent for the rest of the school population.

Coupled with this, looked-after children are too often not made aware of their rights, and, as a result, there is clearly a need for a statutory right to independent advocacy services.

Being in care can be a difficult environment for children and young people to cope with. While they have been placed in care because their families are unable to provide them with the caring, nurturing and in some cases, safe, environments which they deserve – many children and young people can find the process very daunting and unsettling.

The needs of all children in care should be assessed in a timely manner, and they should have statutory rights to independent advocacy, giving this group the life chances they deserve.

Stuart Jacob

Director

Falkland House

Fife