The 5th of February marks a landmark day for Scotland – our opportunity to change the world, the future, for probably Scotland’s most disadvantaged of all; those child ren in the care system.
That system as it stands runs on processes and procedures, no doubt logical but the outcomes that prevail for those with no choice but to be in it are largely appalling.
People working in that system are good, great people but are bounded by a system that works for the system but not for those it serves – it must change.
We in Scotland show we care, investing billions of pounds supporting the circa 15000 young people in that system every year, but also show by the outcomes for them we are investing in a broken system.
On Wednesday we will hear how it can and will be fixed as Fiona Duncan, the armour plated chair of the Care Review presents not her findings, but the findings of probably one of the world’s most effective, immersive analyses of a care system ever undertaken. 5500 voices, over half of whom are care experienced, every Local Authority consulted, 500 organisations and ten working groups all co-chaired by a care experienced individual and a professional…
The prize when we embrace the changes it will recommend go well beyond delivering the positive outcomes every young person in care deserves; the prize also comes in a massive economic return on investment – literally £billions. Moreover Scotland will lead the world.
Perspectives. It’s a well told story repeated hundreds if not thousands of times – separated, by the system not for their own good, siblings are torn apart, moved to different parts of the country. Outcomes vary depending upon their experiences from the positive (University; jobs; travel) to suicide and everything in between. Years and years later they possibly meet up never having known one another to begin a lifetime of rebuilding what we took away from them…
And there’s another big point: stop the stigma, these young people have huge talents, with the correct nurturing, love and support their talents will prevail.
2600 care experienced young people committed to this Review, not because it would help them, but because they could help stop it happening to the next young person in line.
I commend the First Minister for calling this Review and with my absolute heart call upon all of Scotland’s politicians, Local Authorities, charities and the private sector to embrace the no doubt great challenges and change the review will call for. Embrace the change for the love of our young people.