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Keeping the Promise

Substantial progress has been made in delivering The Promise to care-experienced young people in North Ayrshire.

A special one-day conference – attended by Scottish Government Minister Clare Haughey and Fraser McKinlay, Chief Executive of The Promise Scotland – heard that significant strides had been made in supporting young people to ensure they are able to lead happy, safe and fulfilling lives.

The conference (on Friday 4 November at Saltcoats Town Hall) heard from young people who are already benefitting from multi-agency working across services and partners to achieve the ambitions The Promise: a 10-year programme which launched in 2020 to support care-experienced children and young people.

The audience was also told about the work ongoing in North Ayrshire to ensure care-experienced children and young people are at the heart of Scotland’s national care system reform and the changes already undertaken.

Minister for Children and Young People Clare Haughey said: “I am heartened to hear of the progress made in North Ayrshire to ensure that all care-experienced children and families feel loved, cared for and nurtured. I would like to thank everyone who is helping to deliver on The Promise, particularly around whole family support.

“The Scottish Government is committed to Keeping The Promise by 2030. We will continue to work with partners, such as North Ayrshire Council, on our way to meeting our ambitions of Scotland being the best place for children to grow up and reach their full potential.”

The Promise was launched in 2020 following the National Independent Care Review.

It aims to address the inequality of outcome experienced by children and young people who have been – or are currently in – the care system, ensuring they are able to fulfil their potential, reducing the number of children and young people coming into the care system and increasing the number of preventative, early intervention and community-based supports for children, young people and families.

Councillor Margaret Johnson, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at North Ayrshire Council, said: “As Corporate Parents, we are committed to delivering the outcomes of The Promise. Hearing directly from our young people who have experience of the care system is absolutely crucial if we are to make the changes needed and that’s why it was so important that they were given a voice at the conference.”
“All our care-experienced children and young people in North Ayrshire must be made to feel safe, secure and able to fully realise their potential in life.”

The conference heard that significant progress has been made in laying the foundations of The Promise in North Ayrshire over the past two years, including securing multi-agency commitment and a number of service and practice developments, with links being made to other major projects and programmes related to care experienced children and young people both locally and nationally.

Hearing the voice of the care experienced community is integral to The Promise, and in 2021 both a full-time Engagement and Participation Lead and a Corporate Parenting Youth Worker were appointed in North Ayrshire.

A designated housing officer is also now in place, acting as a single point of contact for care experienced young people and improving access to housing and support, as well as an additional tutor employed by the Education service to provide one-to-one tuition for care experienced young people.

Some additional highlights of the work carried out so far include:

  • The provision of employability, mental health and wellbeing support for care experienced young people;
  • An anti-discrimination and stigma policy for Corporate Parents created by young people;
  • Work by the Active Schools team to ensure care experienced young people have access to sport and physical activities, both at school and in the community;
  • And, the implementation of the Signs of Safety and Safe and Together models, which take a rights-based approach to child welfare and protection;
  • For more national progress info, view the National Plan for 2021-2024 the Promise Change One Programme.
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