Blake Ross '˜third child in state care to die this year'

Teenager Blake Ross, who died after running away from a foster unit, is the third young person in state care to die since the new year, a leading charity has warned.

Blake Ross. Picture: Handout
Blake Ross. Picture: Handout
Blake Ross. Picture: Handout

The head of a charity which speaks on behalf of children under state supervision said the 13-year-old was among several young people in the care system to have died in recent weeks.

Blake, 13, was found unwell on a bus on Monday afternoon, 48 hours after running away from the St Katharine’s Centre care home in the Howdenhall area of Edinburgh.

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He was taken to the city’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where he died.

He had gone missing without his diabetes medication.

Duncan Dunlop, the chief executive of Who Cares? Scotland, said every month since July, a young person aged under 25 in care had died.

He said: “That is just those known to our network.

“I woke up to new statistics outlining that care-experienced people are more likely to be dead by the age of 21.

“Then followed the news that one of our 13-year-old members had died after being found unwell on a bus.

“It is the third time that I have received a call like that this year. We are thinking about all of the care experienced young people we know today who are no longer with us.

Mr Dunlop said the charity had knowledge of all three, one of whom was among the two teenagers who died in Her Majesty’s Young Offenders’ Institute Polmont last month.

The other was a young woman who took her own life over the festive period.

The charity boss added that while Blake’s death appears to have been an accident, questions need to be asked about why he felt the need to run away and why so many young people with experience of the care system feel a lack of belonging in society.

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Nearly £2,000 has so far been donated to help pay for Blake’s funeral.

His former foster carers Jennifer and Jack Savage, from South Queensferry, West Lothian, described Blake as “kind and caring”.

They had to stop looking after him because of illness, Mrs Savage had said but 
Blake still kept in touch with them.