The Scottish Government's vision for children and young people is clear. We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for them to grow up; a place where rights are respected and where children can access all the opportunities and support they need. We want Scotland to be a place where children have the best start in life and live longer, healthier lives.
All children should have the chance to fulfil their potential and there should be no difference between the outcomes of young people in care and their peers.
I am delighted to introduce this guidance, which has been produced on behalf of the Looked After Children Strategic Implementation Group, to assist those involved in carrying out health assessments of our looked after children and young people. This document sets out the minimum standardised elements of a health care pathway which we would expect Boards to implement in collaboration with local authorities and other organisations. I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution and re-emphasise the importance of recording and reporting on the health and well‑being of looked after children and young people.
Looked after children and young people share many of the same health risks and problems as those who have not been in care. But in addition, they may have been exposed to additional risks to their well-being including poverty, abuse and neglect. They often experience multiple placements and daunting statutory processes which can be detrimental to their emotional and physical well-being whilst in care.
Good health makes an active and enjoyable life possible, as well as underpinning achievement in school and, in due course, the work place. It is therefore crucial to identify a child or young person's health needs early in their care planning in order to ensure as far as possible that the health outcomes of children and young people who are, or have been, looked after will be as good as those who have not.
As corporate parents, we have a duty to improve the support to our most vulnerable children and young people. These children are our responsibility, are in our care, and we need to do the best for them that we possibly can.
Aileen Campbell MSP
Minister for Children and Young People
Email: Carolyn Younie