Scots councils need to be better parents

Scotland’s councils need to improve the way they act as corporate parents for looked-after children, according to a major
inspection report.

The Social Work Inspection Agency’s Extraordinary Lives report said this was the single, most important factor in improving the lives of children in care.

The review, based on interviews with 200 children in care and staff that work with them, said council chief executives should
report annually on what they had helped looked-after children to achieve.

They should also nominate an elected member to act as a champion for looked-after children and appoint a senior manager to co-ordinate the provision of services for the group throughout the authority.

The review also called for a “radical rethink” of the assessment and decision-making process used by councils in deciding whether kinship care could be an option for looked-after children.

Inspectors said multiple foster placements, lack of focus on education and health needs and low expectations of their ability were barriers for looked-after children.

However, they can be successful at school, in employment and with relationships with the right support from organisations and professionals.

SWIA chief inspector Alexis Jay  said children in care experienced “many disadvantages, and are often discriminated against, in all areas of their lives”.

Extraordinary Lives
● See features on the achievements of looked-after children and corporate parenting, p28-33

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