In February 2020, Scottish Government accepted in full the Independent Care Review’s conclusions and, alongside others, made a promise to Scotland’s children and families. This meant that wherever children are safe in their families and feel loved they must stay, and families must be given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties which get in the way. By committing to #KeepThePromise, they promised to do everything in their power to make sure that children and families get all the support they need to thrive - now and in the future. Given the devastating impact of the pandemic, a tangible demonstration of that commitment in Programme for Government to establish a Whole Family Wellbeing Fund is welcome.
Scotland is at a critical juncture, where the change underway must be built on at pace.
The Care Review calculated the human costs as well as the economic costs of both the services which deliver and surround the ‘care system', and the parts of the ‘system’ letting down children and families. Scotland’s cross-sector, multidisciplinary plan for change, Plan 21-24, set out the ways in which using money differently Scotland could invest in services and supports that mean more families stay together, wherever possible, and can thrive.
To achieve this, Scotland must invest in childhoods that enable children and young people to grow up loved, safe and respected. This will require public sector organisations and their partners to plan and work together and invest in supporting families.
The announcement of at least £500m for a Whole Family Wellbeing Fund within the life of this parliament, and the ambition of investing 5% of all community-based health and social care spending in preventative whole family support measures by 2030, are important steps towards #KeepThePromise and meeting targets in Plan 21-24.
This will require new ways of working, but the approach outlined in this Programme for Government of significant and sustained investment which must be delivered in a joined up, cohesive way should give hope to everyone who is working to #KeepThePromise.