NAFP response to Independent Care Review, 5 February 2020
"Today, I heard and listened to an inspiring promise of change for the children and young people of Scotland. For our part, those of us working in and around the care system must be willing and prepared to leave behind the old ways of working, we know what is required of us now. Belief and support from Scotland’s First Minister, as well as cross party support, will surely mean this has not been a paper exercise and change will start soon. There are not simply recommendations of what should be done, but the chair, Fiona Duncan, has tried to answer the questions of why and affordability.
"I want to echo some of the language used in the Independent Care Review as it is so well chosen. In the past, words have excluded and stigmatised and that should end now.
- The voice of care experience should remain central to decision-making at an individual and system level - getting the care experience right is for the benefit of young people, wider society and the economy
- Knowing and listening to children and young people is the foundation of change, and this means valuing equally those closest to children, including foster carers
- Strong, positive relationships form the basis of the best foster care and we should never undermine or look to destabilise this, only look to enhance it and realign professional responsibilities/boundaries
- We should acknowledge and recognise the dedication and passion of foster carers
- Finding and choosing the right foster carer is key, but this needs other parts of the system to work much more in the interests of children than they do now, including the quality of assessment of children’s needs, the quality of referral information, and valuing the important roles of all those in a child’s life - siblings, carers and others
- If we are to rid the care system of its inconsistency and postcode lottery of experience, collaboration between agencies and shared priorities must become the norm
- Data accuracy, solid comparative costs of services and evidence-based planning must inform strategic level planning
- Care should not be driven by bureaucracy, including that surrounding commissioning of services - we must leave behind the risk averse culture that can bring with it different risks that we do not openly recognise, and reconfigure inspection and regulation processes to support outcomes, relationships and experiences more than processes, paperwork and systems
- Continuing Care for young people is a key test of our commitment and must be resourced to show that there is care beyond care
"We must pull together, as local authorities and independent fostering providers - our foster carers are there caring and advocating for children and young people, and they will continue to play this crucial role."
Harvey Gallagher, Chief Executive