Today is Care Day. First celebrated in 2015 by Who Cares? Scotland to commemorate the anniversary of the Children and Young People Act 2014, it is now a global celebration of the successes and achievements of children and young people with experience of care.
On this day, millions of children, young people, adults, families and carers, as well as organisations, come together to mark the accomplishments, strengths, and stories of the care community, all across the world.
This year’s theme is ‘It takes a village’, a proverb so familiar, there’s often no need to complete it.
It is understood to be about the importance and power of community - and the role that it plays in our children’s lives - connection and relationships.
But in Scotland, we need to do much more than simply understand it. We need to live it. And not just today, but every single day.
Two years ago, our ‘village’ made a promise to its children.
The Independent Care Review, after three years of listening carefully to the stories and experiences of children, young people, adults, and families, published its conclusions.
The seven reports, primary of which is the promise, were met with huge support and commitment; from political parties, organisations and individuals. They made clear what needed to happen for all of Scotland’s children to grow up loved, safe and respected.
If it takes a village to raise a child, then everyone in our village has a role to play to keep that promise.
No matter who you are or what you do – MSP, school teacher, GP, chief executive of a local authority, social worker, charity worker, carer, friend, parent (corporate or otherwise) – there is something in the promise’s 80+ conclusions that you could do today, that would contribute to the change that our children and families have asked for, and need.
That would make someone’s daily life - and longer-term outcomes - better.
That would help transform a ‘service’ into a relationship – and a ‘system’ into a community.
That would take an important step towards a promise being kept.
If it takes a village to raise a child, then Scotland must become that village.
Yes, that means challenging and calling out failure, but it also means accepting your role and your responsibility. It means holding yourself accountable, as well as your neighbour. It means leading, not waiting for others to take the first step.
The care community campaigned for the Care Review and gave so much of themselves to it, in the hope of better.
The Care Review belonged to the care community, and The Promise Oversight Board’s first report, due later this year, will provide an update on progress being made towards keeping the promise.
For years, the care community has been an active member of our small nation’s village - speaking out, taking action, offering love, friendship and support. They have been heard, beyond our borders, and contributed beyond measure.
So today, let’s celebrate the care community and acknowledge all that has been done and given – and still is, by so many - to bring about change for all Scotland’s children and families.
And perhaps too we should reflect on our own contribution - ‘It takes a village’ isn’t merely a saying.
Only with all of us playing our part, will we make sure that all of our children get all that they need to grow up and fulfill their potential.
It’s the only way our village will #KeepThePromise.