First Minister has met 1,000 young people with experience of care.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met the challenge of listening to more than 1,000 care experienced young people as they discuss the changes they want to see to the system just days ahead of the publication of the forthcoming Independent Care Review.
The First Minister pledged in 2016 to meet at least 1,000 care experienced young people while the review did its work. During that time, she also announced:
- the removal of the upper age limit for the £8,100 per year bursary which care experienced students are entitled to
- the introduction of the Children’s Bill which will ensure siblings and wider family relationships are protected where it is safe to do so
- children’s rights will be embedded in law so that anyone in care, or leaving care, can access the support they are entitled to without having to fight for it
- the introduction of the £33 million Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund to improve educational outcomes for young people with care experience, funding projects ranging from mentoring and counselling to practical skills like driving lessons
The First Minister said: “Thank you to all of the young people who took the time to raise their voice and share their very personal stories with me.
“You have helped to ensure we can provide a care system which will have love at its heart and give everyone in Scotland the childhood they deserve.
“The first thing I did after my initial conversations with care experienced people was to announce an Independent Care Review and I look forward to receiving the conclusions soon.
“But these conversations also made it clear to me that there were immediate actions we could take to improve the lives of young care experienced people across the country without delay while the Review was looking at the broader transformation required.
“That is why since 2016 we have improved access to funding support for further and higher education, committed to keep families together where it is safe to do so and introduced a fund to provide vital services and support to help improve the attainment of young people with care experience.
“We know there is more to do but this is just the start of the journey. Our work to improve the care system will continue and so will my conversations with young people who have experienced it.”
The 1,000 voices manifesto was created by Who Cares? Scotland and a coalition of charities.