Care Experienced Week: open letter from the First Minister to the care community

The First Minister writes to the care community ahead of care experienced week.

22 October 2022

To the care community,

I am honoured and privileged to have been able to meet with and speak to many of you over the past few years, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the months and years to come.

I have fond memories of spending time with you at the Kilt Walk and joining in the fun at summer camps. Unfortunately, I am unable to join you this Sunday at the 2022 Love Rally to kick start the annual celebration of Care Experienced Week – but I’m sure that we will be able to arrange more opportunities to meet soon.

Keeping The Promise is more than just a job to me. I am personally committed to making sure each and every one of you grows up feeling loved, safe and protected and that the right support continues to be available for you throughout your life. I have met and heard many stories of children who grow up in care who go onto to flourish and do fantastic things, however I know that doesn’t happen for everyone. Your stories really help all of us within the Scottish Government make the changes that are necessary to improve lives.

Who Cares? Scotland published their ‘Paving the Way’ report a few months ago, and I want to thank all of you who helped develop this, and those who shared messages and clear reminders from the event. In particular, many of you feel that there should be more emphasis put on support for care experienced adults, that mental health should be emphasised more, and that we should be clear on the timescales against which our actions will be delivered.

The ‘Paving the Way’ report builds on your review of the actions that the Scottish Government has set out it will do in its Promise Implementation Plan that was published in March. These actions include our commitment to:

  • supporting more families to stay together where it is safe to do so by providing £500 million for the Whole Family Wellbeing Funding
  • introducing legislation later this year which will be called the Children’s Care and Justice Bill. This will put an end to placing under 18s in Young Offenders Institutions
  • providing more support to the staff and services who support investment in education, investment in mental health and providing trauma training
  • ensuring that care experienced adults are supported through investment in our Care Experience Grant, housing and employment support

I am absolutely committed to keeping The Promise by 2030 but I also recognise that continued action is needed by the Scottish Government, by councils, by local services, by health boards - by all of Scotland – to ensure our promise is kept.

Two and a half years on from the conclusion of the Independent Care Review, I am encouraged by the changes to services, structures and ways of working that have started to happen at both local and national level.  We must keep up that good work, and the Scottish Government will continue to put our full efforts behind bringing forward actions as quickly as possible.  

You are helping by highlighting the reality of your experience and, once again, I thank you for this – you are making a huge difference which will continue to lead to transformational change across Scotland.

With love,

Nicola Sturgeon

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