Responding to the announcement at the SNP conference by First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon of a root and branch review of the care system, Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network Scotland, said:
‘We are extremely pleased that the First Minister has announced this review of the children in care system. Scotland has an ambition to be the best country in the world for children to grow up in, and this must of course include looked after children. A review of the care system, carefully listening to looked after young people and all those who are involved in their care, is an important step towards making this ambition a reality.
‘Three-quarters of children in care in Scotland who are looked after away from home are living with foster families. That is why any review of the care system must include a significant review of fostering in Scotland. We were delighted to hear the First Minister recognise the “amazing job” the 4,500 fostering families do in Scotland, and couldn’t agree more that children need “a system that supports them to become the people they can be. One that gives them a sense of family. Of belonging. Of love.”
‘That sense of family and belonging starts with stability, therefore any review of the care system must have a focus on placement stability in foster care. This means having enough properly skilled, supported, trained and remunerated foster carers. It means having a properly implemented, well-funded, and consistently applied Continuing Care scheme for young care leavers. It means care-experienced young people being able to keep connected with their former foster carers.
‘The Fostering Network in Scotland looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and others across the fostering sector, including young people themselves, to bring about the change which is needed. Our forthcoming State of the Nation report will lay out some of the areas of change that foster carers have identified.
'But of course it’s crucial that the very welcome review does not delay areas of work already in progress. With this in mind we call on the Scottish Government to fulfil a promise it made a decade ago – to bring in minimum fostering allowances in Scotland, thereby removing the current postcode lottery for fostered children. Implementing this immediately would both bring Scotland into line with the other countries of the UK and show a genuine commitment to creating a care system which “makes things happen for children.”’