The Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) has helped develop Scotland’s first national standards setting out what support children and young people should expect when in, or on the edges of, secure care.
Launched today (5th) the Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland seek to ensure support is provided before, during and after a stay in secure care and that the rights of children and young people, often facing extreme vulnerabilities and risks in their lives, are respected.
When implemented, the new Standards will deliver a consistent, unified approach to caring for these vulnerable children in all council areas, and to all children placed in secure care in Scotland.
Children and young people in secure care and with experience of care were at the heart of the development of the Standards, along with secure care staff, local government, CYCJ, Cosla, the STARR Group (Scotland’s only curated space for secure care experienced people), and other key stakeholders.
Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd MSP, said:
“Going into care is distressing. Some children will not be able to show their feelings or talk about what they are going through. That is why it is important that we have systems in place that make transitions less traumatic.
“The Standards are fully co-produced by young people living in secure care and those with care experience and are written from the child’s perspective to ensure young people’s voices are heard, their rights are adhered to and they are treated with respect.
“The Standards reinforce our commitment to the Scottish Government’s Getting it Right for Every Child policy, supporting the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the important asks of the Independent Care Review Promise published earlier this year. Above all our young people must feel safe, loved and cared for in a compassionate, nurturing environment.”
Beth-Anne Logan, a secure care experienced person and STARR chair, who was a member of the Pathway and Standards working group, said:
“These Standards are critically important as they show both professionals working in the sector and young people and their families what standard of care they should expect to have should they enter secure care. They focus on the child’s journey before, during and after secure care and how that should look and feel.
“Growing up in secure care, we wished we had a tool such as the Standards to help us know our rights and what to expect off the people caring for us as secure can be a scary place sometimes – especially when you first move in there. These Standards should be a beacon of hope, and we should all be striving for the best possible care for Scotland’s children.”
Fellow STARR group member Liam Slaven added:
“Having standards that apply to all young people going into secure care no matter where they are will have a beneficial effect, by making sure young people are treated with the utmost respect and dignity if their liberty is restricted.
“My aspirations for these Standards are that young people are supported and heard throughout their journey in secure care and they have the best care possible, at the right time and when they need it most. I feel these Standards will be a shining star/STARR for young people and will ensure they thrive and grow.”
Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said:
“This is an exciting and pivotal moment for Scotland and all involved with children in or on the edge of secure care as we launch the first ever Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland. Every child and young person should have the right to know what to expect from their support and experiences, before, during and after any stay in secure care.
“By co-producing these Standards with children and young people and their central involvement throughout all related processes, we have ensured they are based on what is most important to them and what had the greatest impact on their care experience – both positive and negative.
“We recognise that just sharing these Standards is not enough, and that the pace of implementation, challenges and opportunities will look different for everyone. The launch of the Standards is just the start of the journey and it will be the drive and determination of all those linked to children experiencing extreme needs, risks and vulnerabilities in their lives who will be responsible for making them a success.
“This could not have happened without the hard work and input of so many, especially the children and young people themselves. We are hugely grateful to each and every one of you.”
What happens next?
Three launch events will be held: today (5th) for strategic leads; on October 8 for the children, young people and staff within secure care centres who have played a pivotal role in the
co-production of the Standards and associated resources; and in November for key stakeholders.
Visit www.securecarestandards.com, which was co-designed with children and young people, featuring quotes on why the Standards matter to them, and images they’ve created.
Follow @CYCJScotland on Twitter and #secureyourrights for updates, resource sharing and live tweeting from launch events. Read Debbie Nolan’s blog about how it all began with the Secure Care National Project.