The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is a far-reaching and influential proposed law and will be an important step forward in improving the lives of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people.
It is the first legislation in almost 20 years updating the support we give vulnerable children and has at its heart a vision that we should all share – making Scotland the best place in the world for children to grow up.
The Scottish Parliament will have its stage one debate on the proposed bill tomorrow.
The bill already represents a major step forward in improving outcomes for young people leaving the care system – but there is still much more that could be done.
Aberlour Child Care Trust, Barnardo’s Scotland and Who Cares? Scotland all work with young people who have left care in Scotland, and far too many of these young people have poor outcomes in terms of education, employment and homelessness.
Our three organisations welcomed the calls from the parliament’s education and culture committee to enhance support for care leavers in the bill in its stage one report.
We would like to see a series of key changes – more care leavers to stay in care until 18, a right to return to care for care leavers under 18, entitlement to apply for support, aftercare to be extended to more young people leaving care, and greater consistency of support for care leavers.
We recognise that some local authorities are doing really good work to support care leavers – the challenge is to make that support more consistent.
We urge MSPs of all parties to work together to maximise the support the new legislation can give to this particularly vulnerable group of young people.
Who Cares? Scotland