1. The primary legislation that this guidance refers to is the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act). The legislation and accompanying Regulations clearly set out the principals and policy aims for Aftercare provision.
2. This guidance provides local authorities and their Community Planning Partners with information and advice about how they should fulfil their duties under section 29 (After-care) of the 1995 Act, and associated secondary legislation, as amended by Part 10 (Aftercare) of the 2014 Act. The revised duties and powers commenced on 1 April 2015.
3. This guidance supplements the Supporting Young People Leaving Care in Scotland: Regulations and Guidance on Services for Young People Ceasing to be Looked After by Local Authorities published in 2004. Relevant pieces of subordinate legislation are The Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Regulations 2003 as amended by The Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015 and also the Aftercare (Eligible Needs) (Scotland) Order 2015. The 2014 Act and this guidance complement the existing Regulations and Guidance, which remain relevant. Where appropriate they are referenced clearly in this guidance.
4. To ensure full compliance with the legislation it is recommended that this guidance is read as a whole and alongside other guidance on relevant parts of the 2014 Act and other legislation.
5. In particular, this guidance should be read alongside other relevant guidance relating to the 2014 Act as each part is commenced. Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the 2014 Act has already been commenced and this guidance should be read in conjunction with that.
6. For a full explanation of the spirit and principles on which this guidance is based (and the Scottish Government's policy objectives) please refer to Staying Put Scotland guidance published in 2013, which emphasises the crucial importance of continuity of relationships and the expectation that all looked after children should routinely remain in their placement until at least the age of eighteen.
7. Other relevant legislative and policy guidance is listed at Appendix A . This guidance will be reviewed in due course, once all parts of the 2014 Act have been fully brought in to force.
8. This guidance reflects the policy aims of Scottish Ministers, and will be referenced by regulatory and other scrutiny bodies in the course of external inspection.
9. Moreover, this guidance has been developed in consultation with local authorities, care providers, third sector organisations and care leavers to support effective implementation of the changes to Aftercare services introduced by the 2014 Act.
10. This guidance is directed towards local authorities, other corporate parents and Community Planning Partners ( CPPs) who will therefore wish to pay due regard to both the contents and underpinning spirit of this guidance.
11. This guidance highlights the issues which local authorities, through consultation events, considered it likely they would encounter and outlines a number of relevant potential scenarios. These are intended to be of use to frontline practitioners, providing an explanation of how the duties should be applied in day-to-day practice. It is, however, not intended to provide answers to every unique situation, and where necessary care leavers and local authorities should seek appropriate legal advice.
12. The aims of this guidance are:
- to reinforce the legal and ethical responsibilities of local authorities towards looked after young people and care leavers;
- to explain and re-emphasise local authorities' powers and duties in relation to the provision of Aftercare; and
- to provide a framework for enhanced and improved personal support (based on on-going personal contact) for Scotland's care leavers.
13. Looked after children, young people, care leavers, carers and families may also find this guidance a useful aid in identifying their entitlements and it may assist in future preparation of any supplementary information leaflets to accompany all parts of the 2014 Act.