Morning, Tuesday, 8th December 2020
***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will examine the priorities for improving provision for children in care, and care leavers, in Scotland.
It is bringing together key stakeholders with policymakers - including the Minister for Children and Young People - to discuss key findings from the independent Care Review, launched by the Government.
The Review examined the current system, produced proposals for its reform, and made recommendations on the level of investment required.
We expect discussion to focus on the way forward for implementing the Review’s recommendations following the recent establishment of an Independent Oversight Body - The Promise - to oversee the process and reports that a plan for implementation will be drawn up by the end of the year and then presented for approval.
The priority areas include:
- having a voice - children within the system are listened to and have a means of contributing to decisions made about their care
- wellbeing - children are safe in their families and are supported to overcome difficulties to be part of a caring, nurturing environment
- the care environment - improving the quality of care for children not living with families, and enabling children to stay with siblings where it is safe to do so and as part of loving home
- relationships - supporting their development between children in care, the care workforce and the wider community
- a ‘scaffolding’ - putting in place a framework to support those in the care system, with effective help and accountability measures
The conference will be an opportunity to assess progress in putting together an independent team and a work programme.
The discussion is bringing stakeholders together with key policy officials who are due to attend from The Scottish Government; Education Scotland and Social Security Scotland.
Further relevant developments at a glance:
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - incorporation of the UNCRC into domestic law in Scotland, including:
- children’s rights in respect of reviewing their treatment in care and the way in which they are cared for
- power to the Children’s Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children’s rights
- Care Review implementation - a multi-agency plan to carry through the Review’s key recommendations, which will include:
- headline priorities for the period between 2021 and 2024
- a midpoint review to assess progress expected by 2027
- full implementation of all targets by 2030
- funding - commitment of £4m by the Scottish Government to support delivery of The Promise
- New standards for secure care - launch of the Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland for children and young people, setting out expectations for those in care or on the edges of care
- COVID-19 - how the pandemic has affected provision for children in care - and those delivering care, and the children and households receiving services - as agencies and others involved seek to maintain necessary levels of accountability and help where needed whilst meeting current regulations
- the Scottish Child Abuse Enquiry - which will continue to examine the abuse of children in care
- children’s hearings - Government consultation on raising the age at which a young person can be referred to a children’s hearing from 16 to 18
The discussion in detail:
- priorities - implementation of the Review’s key findings and how to create a better support network for children
- co-ordination and collaboration - how joint working can be further developed between:
- local authorities, education providers, health services, and the voluntary sector - whilst retaining flexibility to provide for individual needs of looked after children and foster families
- the Care Inspectorate, Scottish Social Services Council and other regulators - with the Review calling on these bodies to come together to establish an holistic framework
- prevention - improving the effectiveness of early intervention for children in care so that:
- pressure on the system is reduced - to the point of allowing crisis and acute care services to be phased out
- financial planning is improved - enabling the care system to move away from a ‘sticking plaster’ approach to finance and a reassessment of how money flows in and out of the system
- addressing challenges - including impact on the social care sector in Scotland of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the immigration system following Brexit
- recruitment and retention - progress so far in tackling issues, and what more can be done
- diversity - potential strategies for widening the make-up of those working in the sector going forward
- development and training - how it can improved all sections of the workforce, both unpaid and paid
- meaningful engagement - how to create opportunities for ensure to ensure that the voices of children are heard and taken account of
- families remaining together - with the Review recommending that The Scottish Government creates legislation to support this, based on the UN Convention of the Rights of Child
- the Children’s hearings system - options for reform, with both children and families expressing concern to the Review surrounding how it currently operates
- how the system can be streamlined and encouraged to specialise, as recommended by the Review
- ensuring that children and families have the right to independent advocacy
- improving provision - looking at:
- developing an effective multi-agency approach to support those leaving care
- how to effectively utilise the Scottish Care Leavers Covenant, with the Review calling for more support for children up to the age of 25
- supporting progression - the way forward for developing stronger structures to help care leavers move to further and higher education, and to expand effective pathways into employment
- The Independent Care Review - key findings and establishing The Promise
- Reviewing the current standard of care provision and next steps in developing a holistic approach
- Improving the care experience for children - the support scaffolding, workforce development, and securing better outcomes
- Building a system that listens to the needs of children
- Reforming the care system - building children’s voices into decision making, supporting a positive environment for young people to live in, and improving support for families and carers
- The future vision for the care system
Policy officials attending:
Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from The Scottish Government; Education Scotland and Social Security Scotland.
Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of The Scottish Parliament and senior officials from The Scottish Government, regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from third sector; schools and colleges; local government; the police service; the health service; academia; family law organisations, unions; sport and youth clubs, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.
This is a full-scale conference taking place online***
- full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
- information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
- conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
- speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
- opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
- a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
- delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
- networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!
Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference