Supporting young people leaving care in Scotland: regulations and guidance

Regulations and guidance on services for young people ceasing to be looked after by local authorities in Scotland.

Regulations and Guidance on Services for Young People Ceasing to be Looked After by Local Authorities


2.1 This guidance and accompanying Regulations should be read in conjunction with the following legislation:

Children (Scotland) Act 1995

2.2 The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 centres on the needs of children and their families. It sets out the duties and powers available to public authorities to support children. The following Sections relate to throughcare and aftercare duties:

  • Under Section 17 the local authority has a duty to provide advice and assistance with a view to preparing a child for when he or she is no longer looked after by a local authority.
  • Section 21 sets out details of co-operation between authorities and other bodies
  • Section 29 of the Act sets out the main local authority responsibilities to young people who leave care after school age.
  • Under Section 29(1) there is a duty to advise, guide and assist those under 19 unless the local authority is satisfied that the young person's welfare does not require it.
  • Under Section 29(2) there is a power to provide advice, guidance and assistance to young people between 19 and 21 who apply to the local authority, unless the authority is satisfied that the young person's welfare does not require it.
  • Section 29(3) states that assistance may include assistance in kind or in cash.
  • Section 30 sets out when local authorities may give financial assistance towards the education or training expenses of those who have ceased to be looked after.

Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001

2.3 The Act modernises the regulation of care services and, at Section 73, strengthens the provisions of Section 29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

2.4 Section 73 (1) amends section 29 to include duties on local authorities to:

  • Carry out an assessment of the needs of young people who have been looked after who they have a duty or power to advise, guide or assist under section 29;
  • Establish a procedure for considering representations, including complaints, made to them about the discharge of their functions under section 29.

2.5 Section 73(2) gives Scottish Ministers a power to make regulations about:

  • The manner in which assistance is to be provided under section 29 to young people who have been looked after;
  • Who is to be consulted in relation to an assessment of needs;
  • The way an assessment is to be carried out, by whom and when;
  • The considerations to which the local authority are to have regard in carrying out an assessment;
  • The recording of the results of an assessment;
  • Procedures for considering representations including complaints.

Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

2.6 The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 changed the system for providing services to young people leaving care in England and Wales. Its aim was to keep young people in care until they are prepared and ready to leave; to improve the assessment, preparation and planning for leaving care; to provide better personal support for young people after leaving care and to improve the financial arrangements for care leavers. Section 6 of the Act, which deals with access to social security benefits for some young people leaving care, also applies to Scotland and is discussed in more detail in Chapter 8 of this Guidance.



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