Scottish Government reveals £500 million fund aimed at keeping children out of care system

A £500 million fund aimed at stopping families from reaching “crisis point” should result in fewer children being taken into care, the Scottish Government has said.

Ministers are committing to invest the money over the five years of this parliamentary term in the new Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.

And it is hoped that by 2030 it will have significantly reduced the number of youngsters who are in care in Scotland.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney (pictured), said the new fund – part of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s programme for Government – would be “focused on prevention” and would seek to work with families experiencing problems before they reach breaking point.

Children and young people will also be able to access help and support on a variety of issues, such as mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and educational attainment.

Speaking about the initiative, Mr Swinney said: “We want to create a Scotland where more children will only know care, compassion and love, and not a care system.

“The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund, backed by at least £500 million over this parliamentary term, will help us to make this a reality and prevent families reaching crisis point.”

By the end of this decade, the Scottish Government wants at least 5% of all spending on community based health and social care initiatives to go on “preventative whole family support measures”, Mr Swinney said.

He added: “This fund, focused on prevention, will enable the building of universal, holistic support services, available in communities across Scotland, giving families access to the help they need, where and when they need it.”

It comes in the wake of a commitment from the Scottish Government to do more to improve the lives of youngsters in care.

The organisation The Promise, set up to help ensure “that every child grows up loved, safe and respected, able to realise their full potential” welcomed the funding.

Chair of The Promise Scotland, Fiona Duncan, said: “The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund is welcome and The Promise Scotland looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to ensure it leads to more children and young people staying together with their families, wherever it is safe for them to do so, to feel loved, and to receive the help and support they need, when they need it.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Fraser Bremner / Scottish Daily Mail / PA.