Keeping the Promise implementation plan

The Promise implementation plan sets out our actions and commitments to Keep the Promise for care experienced children, young people and their families. It contributes to our ambition for every child in Scotland to grow up loved, safe and respected so that they realise their full potential.

Ministerial Foreword by the Deputy First Minister

To the many people who have contributed to the Independent Care Review or to the work to Keep The Promise since February 2020, especially people with care experience and the care workforce, thank you.

Your voices and actions are vital to the future of children and young people in Scotland and in shaping a future where more children will experience love and compassion and more families will stay together.

To the children and young people who are in the care system now, we promise that we will not delay in making changes as soon as possible. I understand frustrations when change may take longer than you feel is needed. The Scottish Government really cares about getting The Promise right and we will work as hard as we can to keep it.

To all of the children of Scotland:

  • We want you to be safe with the people that you know and love
  • We want you to be healthy
  • We want to give you a good education
  • We want you to know and feel that you are loved

To the carers, workforce, agencies and stakeholders who work hard to provide the best environment for our children and young people in care, thank you. We know that whilst there is a need for change, the work that you do on a daily basis and the love that you show helps improve many lives. This is both welcomed and much appreciated.

The last two years have been witness to unprecedented pressure and has required work that goes above and beyond the norm. Thank you for your hard work and for continuing to put your heart into supporting our people and communities.

This Implementation Plan sets out a route for change and your support, ideas and energy in helping us achieve this is highly valued.

In 2016 the First Minister instructed a root and branch independent review of the Care System in Scotland. Running from 2017 to 2020 the review listened to over 5,500 voices, over half of which, were our children and young people who have experience of the care system. The conclusion of this work was The Promise – a clear statement of what needs to change to support the lives and wellbeing of our children, young people, adults and families across Scotland.

In signing up to all of the conclusions set out through the Independent Care Review, the Scottish Government places Keeping The Promise as a central commitment that is fundamental to our ambition that Scotland will be the best place to grow up. A place where all children are loved, safe and respected so that they can reach their full potential.

Meeting this commitment requires a cohesive and coordinated approach across all of our care services, our health services, our education services and our justice services. It requires our many partners to work together and hold The Promise at the heart of what they do. It means we must provide person centred, wrap around support for people, supporting them with what they need, when they need it and where they need it. And, it means that as a Government we must ensure that our policies, our funding and our legislation are aligned to serve the best interests of our children and young people, whether they are involved in the care system or not.

Over the last two years, all of our lives have been impacted by COVID-19 and the pandemic is not over yet. Our children and young people have missed regular interactions with friends and loved ones, and many of the opportunities that are all part of growing up have not been able to happen. The effect of this may be long lasting. We know that for many of our young people who are experiencing care it will have been particularly challenging. As we begin the long road to recovery, there is opportunity to ensure that The Promise and tackling child poverty are central to our focus and activity, and collectively they deliver the transformational change needed to make Scotland the best country in the world to grow up.

The Promise identifies a 10 year programme for change. This Implementation Plan sets out, in one place, the range of actions across the different parts of Government that contribute both collectively and in some part individually to Keep The Promise and it is the first stage of our route map to 2030

In presenting this Implementation Plan, I do so with thanks to the carers, workforce, agencies and stakeholders across Scotland who continue to work hard to provide support to our children, young people and families; and with a grateful thanks to The Promise Scotland and, in particular, to Fiona Duncan for her outstanding leadership to date and the work I know will follow.

John Swinney
Deputy First Minister



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