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by Staff reporter
22 June 2023
Key target for improving lives of vulnerable children set to be missed

In 2020, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged the Scotland would #KeepthePromise

Key target for improving lives of vulnerable children set to be missed

An expert group has warned that a key target for improving the lives of children in care is set to be missed.

Following the publication of the Independent Care Review in 2020, Scotland made The Promise that children would grow up loved, safe, and respected. At the time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged the country would #KeepthePromise.

But an oversight group set up to hold those behind The Promise to account has said that delivering on the aims of the 2021/24 Plan is “no longer realistic”.

It said more clarity was needed from the Scottish Government and other scrutiny bodies on milestones and outcomes to cover the coming years of implementation.

Plan 21-24, published in March 2021, set out the necessary first set of changes to allow Scotland to implement the conclusions of the Independent Care Review in full by 2030.

The Promise co-chair David Anderson said: “The progress we speak of in this report is in large part due to the efforts of the paid and unpaid workforce. Their work is vital, and we want to say thank you to all those who are making progress happen and making a positive difference for Scotland’s children, families and care experienced community.

“We want this report to be a call to action to inspire the people and organisations to tell their story of change, to demonstrate to others that change is possible, and that change is happening.

“Equally though, children, families and the care experienced community deserve honesty and candour about the breadth and pace of progress. Many parts of Plan 21-24 will not be achieved within the timescales identified.

“Over the next year we expect to see greater clarity and energy from decision-makers across Scotland. Although the promise is not yet on course to be achieved by 2030, we remain absolutely convinced that it can be.”

The oversight group, which includes those with lived experience of the care system, said that the overall aims of The Promise remained achievable by 2030. It said it expected improvements around leadership from the Scottish Government, an investment strategy and ensuring that brothers and sisters who are removed from their family are kept together when safe to do so.

During her time as first minister, Sturgeon said she wanted Scotland to be “the best place in the world to grow up”. However, last month the country's outgoing children's commissioner said the former first minister had “absolutely failed” to deliver for young people.


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