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A lot needs to happen for the promise to be kept

The way Scotland helps care experienced people is far too complicated

The Independent Care Review showed that right now, Scotland’s “care system” doesn’t work as a system at all. It works as lots of separate parts, which don’t fit together well.

And because these parts don’t fit together neatly, everything surrounding them is complicated. They exist in a confusing system of laws, policies and organisations, and this complexity means:

  • the “care system” won’t always uphold children’s rights— so it’s costly to human lives.
  • the “care system” is expensive to run— so it’s costly to Scotland’s finances.
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Too often, the “care system” is centred on organisations— not on children and families

The Independent Care Review heard the stories of over 5500 young care experienced people— including teenagers, children, infants and babies.

This made it clear that the "care system" wasn't working as a system— and that it wasn't centred around these children, or their families.

Instead, the organisations that were part of this "care system" worked in a disconnected way. They would make decisions based on their own needs, without thinking about how their role fit together with others.

Over time, that’s meant that what these organisations do doesn't join up neatly.

This means that the people the “care system” is for find it confusing to navigate.

And it means this "care system" does a bad job of providing the support it's intended to give.

Stylised adult and children within a smile, symbolising families at the centre of things.

People have been clear this needs to change

Scotland has known for a long time that its "care system" isn't working.

It's not done as much as it could to make sure care experienced children grow up safe, loved and respected, and this has made things harder for those children. Sometimes, things have remained hard as they've moved into adult life.

There have been lots of attempts to fix this over the years, but they haven't worked. When the Independent Care Review was commissioned in 2016, the then First Minister said Scotland should never need another one. This time, real change had to happen.

It's what that Review found – and what it said needed to change – which the promise itself is based on.

So keeping the promise will mean building something new

Keeping the promise will take work because there's a lot of work needing to be done:

  • Scotland needs to understand the complexity of the current "care system",
  • Scotland needs to understand what a new system would look like, and how it would work, and
  • Scotland needs to work out how to get from the current system to the new one.
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Isla's story

It's easy to say the "care system" is confusing for children to experience. But it's hard to feel what the reality of that is like unless you see it for yourself.

That's why The Independent Care Review created Isla's story. It shows how the system looks from inside, for a care experienced, 10-year-old girl.

It's a composite story, made up of the experiences of lots of real children. Isla herself isn't real, but what happens to her reflects events which did really happen.

Isla's story before the promise was made

The Promise Scotland has made a follow-up video to Isla's story.

It shows what Isla's life might be like in a Scotland which keeps the promise.

Isla's story once the promise is kept

Scotland's "care system" doesn't always work as a system.

So when you see it referenced by The Promise Scotland, it will be in inverted commas.

This is a way of highlighting that what's called a "care system" is really a lot of different parts.

And often, these don't fit together very well.

Dominoes starting to fall, suggesting impact.