Lessons Learned From Scotland’s Damning Care Leavers Report

Scotland’s children’s commissioner is calling for local authorities to outline what steps have been taken to ensure young people don’t leave care too early, a year after a damning report into the problem.

The Sweet 16? report, published in March last year, highlighted a gap between policy and practice in Scotland, saying many councils and social workers were encouraging children to leave care at 16 despite being entitled to care until 18.

A year on from the publication, Kathleen Marshall, Scotland’s children’s commissioner, is collecting information for a follow-up report to see if the service has improved and whether recommendations have been taken on board.

She said: “We have learned informally how some people have used the report to advocate for young people, to challenge funding cuts, to change local policies and to train workers, but we would like more information to let us know what difference it is making and what still needs to be done.

“By following up on Sweet 16? my office will continue to highlight the often harsh realities for looked-after children and young people and hope local authorities respect the findings and act upon them to improve service delivery.”

Marshall added she would be writing to all local authorities to find out what they had done since the last report.

Among its recommendations, the Sweet 16? report stated policy and practice should emphasise young people’s entitlement to care and support up until the age of 18.

It also said the Scottish Government should ban the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for young people living in care.

To contribute to the research phone 0131 558 3733, email info[email protected] or write to SCCYP, 85 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AU.