The Independent Care Review published its final conclusions on February 5, 2020. This is CYCJ’s response:
CYCJ is committed to playing its part in keeping #thepromise. We thank everyone that has contributed to the Care Review and are determined to do everything we possibly can to ensure that their stories are heard and acted upon in order to make real and lasting change for children in Scotland.
We particularly welcome the strong alignment with the changes we have been calling for in relation to a rights-respecting approach to children in conflict with the law, and believe that a cultural change is needed to ensure that offending behaviours by children are treated as an indication of the need for care and protection rather than punishment.
We fully support the acknowledgement that children must be able to participate in processes, and that criminal courts are not settings in which children can be heard or their rights upheld.
That Scotland needs to do more to prevent the criminalisation of all children, devoting particular attention to care experienced children, is evidenced in our work on reducing the unnecessary criminalisation of young people in residential care settings, which has already resulted in Police Scotland rolling out training to its workforce to improve their responses to offending behaviour in children’s homes. We also agree that prison or Young Offender Institutions are not appropriate settings for children, and that all under 18 year olds are children, no matter what they have done.
We are pleased to see a focus on improving support for children affected by parental imprisonment and the call for Scotland to do more to avoid the imprisonment of pregnant mothers. It is also encouraging to see the acknowledgement of the identification of the need to upscale universal family support, transitions support and the emphasis on addressing poverty. A number of the review’s findings in respect of Scotland’s approach to secure care echo those made by the National Secure Care Project and the forthcoming Secure Care in Scotland National Pathway Standards. The Standards, due to be launched this April and co-produced with young people and adults with experience of secure care, set out what all children in or on the edges of secure care in Scotland should expect across supports and services, including areas for improvement identified in the review.
The Care Review clearly documents the massive human and economic cost of the current ‘care system’ and makes a powerful and clear case that we cannot continue doing what we’re doing. Scotland needs to change and CYCJ is ready to be part of this change.