Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, has been appointed as the chair to the independent root and branch Care Review in Scotland.
The Review will look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos of the care system. It will be driven and shaped by the evidence of care experienced young people and propose changes to the care system that will improve both the quality of life and outcomes of young people in care.
The First Minister said: “Many of our young people who grow up in care go on to do great things in life, and those who work with looked after children do an amazing job. We should celebrate that and the progress that is being made - for example, school exclusions are down and the number of young people living in permanent rather than temporary accommodation has increased.
"But we cannot - and must not - ignore the reality for too many children who grow up in care. Only four percent go to university, nearly half will suffer mental health issues, almost one third will become homeless - and perhaps most shocking of all, a young person who has been in care is more likely to be dead by age 21.
"These statistics - which tell the story of real lives - are simply not acceptable. As First Minister, I am determined that we act now to change the course for the young people who depend on us to make sure they enjoy safe, fulfilling, secure and loving childhoods.
"This review will therefore be root and branch. It will look at the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos of the system. And it will be driven and shaped by care experienced young people themselves.
"This is a precious opportunity to make a difference and I am determined to grasp it.
“I am delighted that Fiona will lead the review. Having previously worked within the voluntary sector for more than 20 years and with personal experience of the care system, she will bring a challenging perspective to the role, ensure that the voice of young people is at its heart, and steer it towards a set of recommendations that will deliver real and lasting change.”
Fiona Duncan (pictured, right) said: “It is an honour to be asked to chair this review. Every child and young person has the right to grow up supported by positive, caring relationships with adults. For children and young people who experience the care system this too often does not happen, reducing their opportunities and also robbing society of all that they have to offer.
While the review will be complex and the issues challenging, it will be the expertise of children and young people with lived experience of the system who will ensure a focus on what matters. It will be crucial that the review not only hears their voices, but that real change happens as a result.”
CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) at the University of Strathclyde has been appointed to provide support and coordination of the delivery of the Review.
Commenting on the Review, Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director at CELCIS, said: “We’re really enthusiastic about the potential of this Review to capture the imagination and hearts of how Scotland can enable a better future for our children and young people who have experienced adversity.
“The Review offers the opportunity for us to hear directly from young people themselves who have experienced care, which will help change the future of child care in Scotland for the better. This provides a real opportunity for Scotland to accelerate reform of our child care system, all with the interest of children and their wellbeing at its centre.
“Our support to Fiona and colleagues will include programme and stakeholder management, and expertise in relation to research and best practice. Fiona will undoubtedly be an inspiring and insightful Chair, and for CELCIS, we are excited to be playing our part within the Review.”