#SP16 What are the political parties saying about care experienced people?
#SP16 On Thursday, 5th of May, Scotland will elect a new group of MSPs to the Scottish Parliament and a new Government. Members of Who Cares? Scotland have been more involved with these elections than ever before; training staff of political parties, grilling candidates and meeting politicians at the highest level. We did this so that the party manifestos, the document containing their promises about what they will do if elected, feature strong and ambitious plans for care experienced people.
What we have done... We have consolidated everything that the party manifestos have said about our members. Where they have mentioned “care experienced”, “looked after”, “in care”, we have included it. We have also included links to the full manifestos, in case you want to have a look at where each party sits on different issues. You can click each party logo to open it up.
Have your views heard In the run up to polling day, we will be using Twitter and Facebook to highlight different parts of each manifesto and sharing our members views. Let us know what you think of what each party is saying by filling out the Google Form on this link: http://goo.gl/forms/utqUr3THtK We won’t share your individual response publicly - these will be put together to give an overall snapshot of what our members think as Scotland goes to the polling booth.
“Evidence from around the world shows that a graduate contribution not only unlocks more funding, but can in fact help with widening access by providing more bursaries and more places for the most disadvantaged students. That’s what all policymakers should be aiming for. We will support plans to give full bursaries to care experienced young people. We have also welcomed the Scottish Government’s attainment fund and we will continue to argue that it should go directly to schools with the money following the pupil, with more support for pupils with Additional Support Needs and care leavers.”
“A compassionate care system. Scotland’s young people in care need a system of support based on compassion and care, not just risk-averse protection. Their voices must be central to determining the kind of support they need. All young people should have a planned, supported transition out of the care system, be supported in education and have a right to return to care if needed. The care system must be adequately funded to ensure help is proactively available before a crisis in a young person’s life develops and we will support ways to provide financial support to kinship care families at the beginning of a placement. Scottish Greens believe there should be parity of support, based on need, for all care leavers whether they are looked after at home, in kinship care or in rented accommodation.”
“Scotland’s looked-after children are all our children. It is a shameful fact that someone with experience of care in Scotland is more likely to go to jail than to university. We will ensure that all care leavers who meet the entry requirements can secure a place at university. We will set up the Care Leavers’ Higher Education Fund which will replace existing loans with a non-repayable grant of £6,000 over and above current support. Our plans on cutting the attainment gap, increased maternity grants and giving care leavers full HE grants, are all part of a comprehensive approach to closing the gap between the richest and the rest, cutting the link between deprivation and poor health, and giving young people the best start in life. We will commit to improving the experience of care, including for children who are looked after at home. Local authorities need greater support to improve life chances and a stable financial footing for local government will help. We will invest in improving practice and systems of support. Kinship and foster carers need to have access to financial and emotional support. We will review the strategy for looked after children and set challenging targets for improving outcomes “
“Our plan for a Pupil Premium will give every school £1400 for every primary school child from a poorer background and £900 for secondary. It will be paid directly to schools and used by teachers, based on their professional judgement. The Pupil Premium will also be available for every looked after child and the children of serving personnel in the armed forces. We will take steps to help young people who have been in the care of local authorities. We will make sure that local authorities accept their responsibilities as ‘corporate parents’ to those in care, and make sure they settle young people leaving care into good quality housing and decent education, training or employment. We will consult on changes to family law to enhance the contact rights of fathers and other family members with children We will require local authorities to monitor and account for the outcomes of young homeless people and take their responsibilities as ‘corporate parents’ seriously for young people leaving local authority care and not permit transfers to B&Bs and temporary accommodation for care leavers. We will help tackle youth homelessness through an emphasis on mediation and reconciliation with families. We will support a dozen new centres across Scotland offering supported accommodation for young people, with direct access to advice and training. Set standards for the training of other professionals for example teachers, police and social workers so that they are better able to identify and address mental health problems with the people they meet.”
“Some children continue to need our support more than others. We will invest in services to support families whose children are at risk of moving into care. We will implement our Looked After Children strategy and do more to provide support for children who are looked after at home. We will continue to provide practical and financial support for kinship and foster care families, and introduce a new national allowance for kinship care and foster care. We will continue to invest in services and projects which support children affected by parental substance misuse and/or who are at risk from behaviours and activity which compromise their well-being. And we will invest in activity to make the process of finding safe, secure and permanent homes for children who cannot go back to live with their parents quicker, more effective and efficient, requiring local authorities to use the National Adoption Register. More needs to be done to support young people who have been in care during their childhoods so that when they reach early adulthood, they receive the same support, choices and chances as other young people. We will therefore listen to their experiences to ensure that young people have the aftercare support they need and can return to care as young adults if need be. And while we are rightly proud of the ground-breaking approach taken to parental rights and responsibilities in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, we recognise that this legislation is now over 20 years old and the shape of families has changed considerably in that time. We will review the legislation to ensure the interests of children and their need to form and maintain relationships with key adults in their lives – parents, step-parents, grandparents and other family members – are at the heart of any new statutory measures. By 2030, we want 20 per cent of students entering university to be from Scotland’s 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds. We will appoint a Commissioner for Fair Access to report and advise on access. And we will guarantee a university place for every care experienced young person meeting the entry requirements and provide them with a full bursary. We are already delivering more than 25,000 modern apprenticeships a year, up from 15,000 when we took office. By 2020, we will deliver 30,000 apprenticeships each year and target the additional places on higherlevel courses, including graduate-level apprenticeships. We will also make sure that the programme addresses gender imbalances and is open to all by increasing the numbers of trainees who are disabled, care experienced, or from a BME background. We will develop a new 10-year Child and Adolescent Health and Well-being Strategy, covering both physical and mental well-being.”