Children need more joined-up support when they are being taken into care, the Care Inspectorate warned today. 

 Speaking at a conference in Edinburgh, Chief Executive Annette Bruton urged local authorities and care providers to do more to make sure those responsible for protecting a child in care know more about their background and past. 

She characterised the transitions in and out of care as “danger moments” for vulnerable children, where they may pass from one professional to another without sufficient information on the child's needs being provided. Ms Bruton was speaking at a conference in Edinburgh called Looked After Children: Pathways Through Care. 

The Care Inspectorate acts as Scotland’s watchdog for social work, care homes, school care accommodation, secure care, and fostering services.

Care Inspectorate Chief Executive Annette Bruton said: 

“Children go into care for many tragic and traumatic reasons. Even leaving a troubled or abusive home is difficult if that is all a child has known. 

“We are concerned about the transitions children and young people face when moving into and through care. Coming into care for the first time, moving between homes, and leaving care are all potential danger moments for vulnerable children and young people. It is vital that we have joined-up support so kids in care get the help they need. 

“We need to trust people looking after children with more information about why a child is not living with their family. There is excellent practice in Scotland, but we have found in a number of cases children and young people are still being admitted to care establishments with no or poor background information. The problem is potentially greatest when children move away from the local authority where their home was. 

“The Care Inspectorate expects to see improvements in the support children get when they come into care, when they move from place to place, and after they leave care as young adults. 

“As we review our methodology, we will be paying particular attention to these transition times. Our work will see us inspect care services to spread best practice and we will be looking for evidence of joined-up support and permanency plans. 

“There are more children in care now than a decade ago. We need to ensure parents offering to foster are safe and suitable, but those assessments should be speeded up where possible to provide certainty for children and prevent drift. 

“The forthcoming Children and Young People Bill is a golden opportunity to change things and the Care Inspectorate will play a full part in supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in Scotland.” 


Notes to editors:

In 2012, then 1.5% of children in Scotland aged 0-18 were looked after. This figure has risen from 0.98% in 2002. Of these, 91% are in a community setting and 9% are in residential care.