Children and young people's participation: practice examples

Case studies of organisations who have engaged with children and young people.

Independent Care Review

The Independent Care Review, announced by the First Minister in October 2016, is a ‘root and branch’ review into the full care journey, from early intervention with families on the edge of care to transitions out of care into adulthood. 

The overall purpose of the Review is to identify the changes needed to improve the experience of children and young people who are in care, who come into care and for those transitioning out of care, looking at the legislation, practices, culture and ethos of our system.

The Review is examining the situations of families on the edges of care as well as each component part of the current system (i.e. looked after at home, kinship, foster, residential, secure and adoption).

The Review has been driven by the voices of children and young people in care or with experience of care. People who know what it really feels like, and what needs to change. Infants, children, young people, adults, families, carers and individuals and organisations working with and for children and families have all been involved.

The Centre of Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS) were appointed to host the Secretariat team for the Review, based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of the Corra Foundation, was appointed as Chair. A large part of the participation work has involved integrating the 1,000 Voices programme through Who Cares? Scotland into the Review to form the Participation Hub. The Review is funded by the Directorate for Children & Families, Looked After Children’s Unit.

The Review has been structured into four phases: Orientation, Discovery, Journey and Destination. During the first public-facing stage, Discovery, broad discussions were had with both young people and sector professionals to define the scope and vision for the Review. Findings from Discovery have informed and guided the Journey, which comprises a series of deep dives into priority topics and themes.

During the Discovery stage, the Chair established a group of care experienced and sector experts (the “Discovery group”) to decide on what the scope of the Review and future vision for care should be.  The subsequent Journey stage has ten work groups and has the same balance between care experienced and professional representatives to chair and act as members of the groups.  Almost 150 people are now working with the Review as either co-chairs or members of work groups.

Different methods have been used and involve a strength-based and appreciative approach to encourage and stimulate things that are already working well.

Over 5,000 children and adults have engaged with the Review, more than 2500 of them being children and young people with experience of Scotland’s care system. The Review has from the outset placed the lived experience and wisdom of young people at its heart, building credibility and instilling hope.  Additionally, the First Minister has, to date, met 766 young people as part of her personal 1,000 Voices commitment.

A variety of different ways have been used to involve people in the Review. Infants, children, young people and adults with experience of care have been involved in roadshow events, 1-2-1 conversations with a participation worker, inviting the Review to their own groups, showing the Review something they’ve created as a group or as an individual, emailed, written in or completed an online survey.

Taking part in activities can involve conversations about experiences or issues that may be difficult. The Review has committed to making sure that support is given to allow everyone to take part in a way that feels safe and right for them. The Care Review works with Health in Mind who are providing a dedicated wellbeing service to anyone who is taking part who does not have existing support in place.

The Review is also seeking to deliver immediate improvement to the current experience of care experienced people and is working in partnership with the Scottish Government, local authorities and other sector stakeholders with the objective of having the current care system operating at its optimum prior to full and final recommendations emerging.  As a result, a number of asks have been brought to the Scottish Government for consideration and implementation, where possible.

The Review is now moving towards its Destination stage and is due to conclude in early 2020.


We aim to review and update this information every year so that the examples are kept up-to-date.

If you have a practice example that you would like us to consider to include, please email the details to:

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