We have notified all local authority areas of our intention to undertake a thematic review of the experiences of young people leaving care in Scotland and the extent to which their rights are upheld. The review will run from April 2024 with a report being published in early November.

In 2021, the A Way Home Coalition published Youth Homeless Prevention Pathway: Improving Care Leavers Housing Pathways. This paper highlighted the need for equality in provision of aftercare services, the importance of pathway planning and of reducing risks and crises for young people in Scotland. The following recommendation was made:

The Scottish Government should work with the Care Inspectorate to develop and undertake robust thematic integrated reviews of ‘transition services’ involving key stakeholders and providers (such as housing and accommodation and further and higher education) and Aftercare engagement up to 26.

Purpose of the review

The review will focus on the experiences of young people aged between 16 and 26 who are, or have been, formally looked after and accommodated in foster care or care homes for children and young people. We are committed to seeking the views of young people about how they feel their rights are being upheld. It is being carried out under Section 53 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

The review will aim to establish the following:

  • The extent to which young people and their families are actively and meaningfully involved in all decisions about their continued care and have effective opportunities to influence service design and development.
  • The extent to which young people’s lives are improving through high quality assessment, planning and support which enables them to live in stable and suitable accommodation which is right for them.
  • How leaders ensure the effective delivery of services for young people who are either continuing to be cared for or are leaving care.

Although the statutory duties rest with the local authorities, the review will take account of the roles of children’s services planning partners.

We will conduct the review in two phases.

Phase 1:

  • will be based on self-reported information provided by leaders and staff with responsibility for corporate parenting, and the local champions’ boards (or equivalent) of all 32 local authorities.
  • we will undertake a literature review, including any national research and publications and additional published reports.
  • we will gather feedback from focus groups with scrutiny partners, a professional interest group and regulated care service inspectors.
  • will take account of relevant national data.

Phase 2:

We are offering children’s services partnerships in four local authority areas the opportunity to take part in phase two to support their development in this part of their work and help us better understand the experiences of young people in their area. Our intention is that these four areas will support our work in phase two which will be made up of the following key elements.

  • a focused meeting with the lead professionals for five selected young people in each area: this will combine a case discussion with access to records.
  • individual meetings with the five young people
  • focus groups of senior leaders, champions boards and corporate parenting boards.
  • a review of relevant local documentation.

We will be keen to tailor this to best meet the needs of the four local authorities so that we add value to your improvement agenda. This will form part of our initial discussions and ongoing engagement with you.


The thematic review will result in the publication of a single national overview report, with individual feedback given to each of the four areas. While we will not be evaluating partnerships on their performance, we will report on what is working well across Scotland. We will also report on whether anything is getting in the way of best practice drawing on the perspectives of young people, families, and staff supporting care experienced young people.

Ask of local authorities

  1. We ask all partnerships to complete the attached national survey and return it to us by the 22 May 2024. This should be passed to an individual who has oversight of services for care experienced young people who will co-ordinate a collective approach to completing this as one single response.
  2. We are keen to work with local authorities and partnerships in phase two to provide us with a better understanding of young people’s experiences. Please let us know if you want to put your area forward by the 22 May 2024 and include details of a nominated individual who will act as our key point of contact.

The lead for this review is Jackie Deas, supported by Elena Mills, Strategic Support Officer.