Advocates are needed to protect rights of care-experienced children - Readers' Letters

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.

Advocates for children could help navigate the complex care system

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.

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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.

Kenny Graham, Lynn Bell, Stephen McGhee and Niall Kelly, Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, Edinburgh

Jail time

The Scottish prison service is in crisis and more effective alternatives of community service are currently grossly underfunded.

Despite good evidence showing that community service orders are more effective and reduce reoffending rates the Scottish Government continue to underfund community service facilities, which ironically would solve many of there headaches with the Scottish prison service.

There are 15 prisons in Scotland with a prisoner population of over 8,000 making Scotland rank as one of the worst countries in Europe in what is a "mass incarceration" policy continuing to inadequately support the more effective community alternatives.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

In expert hands

Climate Change, Brexit, and the Covid pandemic have created many new jobs. Obscure university professors and previously unheard of quango pontificators are now public figures, with a grateful nation hanging on to their every word. Experts are at last freely available.

Surely we are now totally equipped to deal with anything the future may hold?

Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth and Kinross

Yesterday’s news

Lib Dem Leadership contender Alec Cole-Hamilton claims Nicola Sturgeon does not have a mandate for Indyref2.

This coming from the party which is the runt of the litter at both Holyrood and Westminster with only four MSPs at Holyrood and four MPs from Scotland in the House of Commons. Mr Cole-Hamilton needs to reflect on the following figures: Holyrood Election 2021 – SNP secures 64 MSPs; Westminster Election 2019 – SNP secure 45 MPs. The results speak for themselves and a mandate for Indyref2 is secure. The Lib Dems are yesterday’s news!

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

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