Sharing the voices of secure care

The voices of young people who contributed to a seminal report on secure care in Scotland have been shared in a new publication from the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ).

‘Secure Care in Scotland: Young People’s Voices’ presents key messages and calls for action from care experienced young people, most of whom were in secure care when they talked about their lives and care journeys.

Their accounts were at the heart of the 2016 report Secure Care in Scotland: Looking Ahead, which shared findings from the CYCJ based Secure Care National Project, which was created in 2015 to undertake an independent, analytical and practice focused review of secure care provision in Scotland.

As a result of this work, the Scottish Government committed to establishing a Strategic National Board for secure care provision in Scotland which will give a voice to care experienced young people and involve them in driving forward a long term programme of transformation. The Board will meet for the first time tomorrow (October 6, 2017).

Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald MSP, said:

“I thank all those who gave such powerful testimony about their lived experience of secure care.  Listening to – and acting on – the voices of our most vulnerable young people has to be at the heart of service design here in Scotland.  Our young people are telling us that while some things are working well, it is clear there is still more we need to do to improve the experience of and outcomes for young people in secure care.

“The first meeting of the Secure Care Strategic Board marks the start of work to develop a transformational future model for secure care.  This important evidence from young people will directly inform the Board’s work.  I look forward to receiving the Board’s recommendations, which will give effect to the calls to action in this report.”

Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said:

“This important report helps us to understand what it’s really like to be in secure care in Scotland for children and young people themselves. Young people have provided powerful and moving testimony about their experiences, highlighting where things have worked well and where they have not. They have also identified a range of recommendations to address some of the concerns and issues identified.

“We will continue to work closely with young people and support the work of the Strategic National Board for secure care to ensure that these recommendations are carefully considered.”

The young people were interviewed during group conversations, which were held at each of the five secure care centres, exploring ‘transitions’, the secure care experience, and mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Two structured conversations also took place with young adults who reflected back on their care journeys.

Read Ellen Maloney’s blog about her experience of secure care.

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
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