SIRCC Backs Report On Looked After Children

The Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC) has endorsed the findings of a Scottish Executive report into looked after children.

‘Looked After Children and Young People: We can and must do better’ was launched by Hugh Henry, Minister for Education and Young People, today (15 January 2007). It tackles some of the challenges faced by looked after children in the education system.

Jennifer Davidson, Director of SIRCC, said: “Supporting the educational attainment of children and young people is a critical component of foster and residential child care, and we enthusiastically welcome this report.

“The strategic leadership and actions demonstrated in the report have the potential to make a real impact on the lives of children and young people. The report focuses on a small but important group who face many challenges. It recognises the depth of the complexities of children and young people’s lives by looking beyond the education system alone.”

Dr Graham Connelly, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Strathclyde, added: “This report shows it is not only social work staff who are responsible for looked after children, but that schools have a vital role to play.

“I am delighted the Executive will be working with COSLA and local authorities to help elected members understand what it means to be ‘corporate parents’ for looked after children and young people.”

Care is organised in ways that mean children and young people do not always get the time they need from social workers, or enough understanding from teachers.

Some children miss years of school before they come into care, while others find they have to move schools when placed in a foster or residential home. This can increase their level of instability further, which in turn impacts negatively on education achievements, which may be disrupted and disadvantaged already.

Colleagues from more than 80 Scottish organisations have indicated the need for a national strategy for these children and young people to address the problems in ‘No Time to Lose: A Manifesto for Children and Young People Looked After Away from Home.’