CELCIS has today (9 April) begun to gather views to inform the writing of a National Practice Guidance to accompany new legislative changes introduced to uphold the rights and meet the needs of brothers and sisters with care experience under the Children (Scotland) Act 2020.
CELCIS has been asked by the Scottish Government to lead on the writing of the Guidance. This includes co-ordination of a number of strands of ‘listening’ and engagement activity involving young people with experience of care, their parents, families and carers and the agencies and practitioners in Scotland responsible for the care, protection and wellbeing of our children and young people.
The aim of the changes is to further protect the rights and promote the wellbeing of brothers and sisters, as these relationships can often become disrupted when a child becomes looked after. The changes include a legal duty on local authorities to take steps to promote contact between ‘looked after’ children and their brothers and sisters, and a duty to establish the views of the child’s brothers and sisters before making any decisions about their care. There will also be a duty, where appropriate, to ensure that brothers and sisters live together in the same family or as near to each other as possible.
The guidance will be developed in collaboration with people who will be affected by the changes and other key stakeholders. CELCIS is particularly keen to hear from:
- Care experienced people
- Foster carers
- Kinship carers
- Parents (including adoptive parents)
- Prospective adopters who have had children living with them on a fostering basis
- Residential child care workers
- Social workers
- Other practitioners with an interest in this rights issue, such as teachers
The Guidance is due to be published in July 2021, when most of the legislative changes will come into force, and will offer important support for practitioners in Scotland’s collective efforts to uphold children’s rights and Keep The Promise of the Independent Care Review.
The Guidance will be updated regularly to reflect what is being learned from the implementation of these legislative changes over time and reflect positive practice.