A strategy aimed at ensuring young people have the best possible start in life is delivering positive results.
Tynwald approved the Strategy for Children and Young People 2015-2020 in April.
Covering young people from birth to 18, it underpins the work of the Children’s Services Partnership – which comprises representatives of Government Departments that work with children and organisations providing care on their behalf, plus the voluntary/charitable sectors.
The partnership works to ensure children grow up healthy and achieving; resilient against adversity; safe from harm and abuse and positively engaged.
The strategy addresses the key actions called for in the review of children services conducted by the Scottish Care Inspectorate in 2013.
Tim Crookall MLC, Minister for Education and Children, described the strategy as ‘a coherent and consistent guide to delivering the key outcomes we require if children are to grow up happy, healthy and ready to face adulthood’.
In a mid-year review, the Children’s Services Partnership says good progress has been made in rebalancing services to ensure young people receive help when issues arise.
It says there is increasing support for young people leaving education and care and with additional and complex needs. More parents are reporting their needs have been met and more young people say they feel safe and cared for and are turning their lives around thanks to intervention.
There are also more young people in education, employment and training.
The Children’s Services Partnership has worked with the Government’s Corporate Parenting Group and Safeguarding Children’s Board to develop a single framework for gathering, analysing and acting on information.
The review points to other areas being progressed, among them:
- Specific strategies for early help and support and for 16 to 19-year-olds are being developed.
- Opportunities for delivering tailored services in the areas where young people live are being assessed.
- The views of young people are more strongly influencing the delivery of services.
- An integrated service for young people with disabilities is being created.
The Minister said:
‘Key national outcomes in the Government’s Agenda for Change are that we improve the lives of young people and families and enable young people to have confidence, seize opportunities to learn, contribute effectively to society and become responsible citizens.
‘Many young people will need little or no help in navigating their early years and achieving these goals but we must do all we can to support those who do need our assistance – whether in the long or short term.
‘This report shows there has been tangible progress in improving the way we spot young people who need help and step in to provide it.
‘However, while much has been achieved, the report recognises that there is more to do in communicating with young people and each other, developing practice and measuring results and we’ll continue to strive to improve.’
In 2016, the Scottish Inspectorate will conduct an independent review of progress since its inspection.