Scottish budget: what it means for care leavers and those who support them The Scottish Government has announced its draft budget for 2019-20. Here are just five things you need to know about the impact on care leavers and those who support them. The budget provides more funding to improve the lives of care experienced young people but no protection for Continuing Care funding. Spending on ‘Care and Protection’, which includes funding for improving outcomes for looked-after children, will increase from £14.1 million this year to £26.8 million in 2019-20. This will include the cost of implementing Continuing Care but, disappointingly, the budget makes no commitment to protecting that funding. This means that local authorities could spend it on other priorities. The budget document makes a commitment to the social services workforce but provides no detail on funding. The budget document states that the Scottish Government will “Support regulation and development of the social service workforce” as a priority in the children and families budget. It is not clear what additional funding will support this commitment. A challenging settlement for local government. The Scottish Government announced a “real terms increase” in local government funding. However, according to local government body COSLA, the “reality” is a cut to the core budget of £175 million. This is because funding for a number of new commitments has been included in the core local government budget settlement. However, it should be noted that this is a draft budget. Without a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government will have to negotiate with other parties to secure backing for the budget. Last year this process led to more money being announced for local government. A welcome restatement of the commitment to delivering children’s rights. The budget document restates the government’s commitment to incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into domestic law and increasing the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old. Staf would like to see the Scottish Government go further on the age of criminal responsibility. We want to see it increasing to a level which would be internationally exceptional, rather than simply ‘internationally acceptable’. You can read more on our blog here. A commitment to considering the recommendations of the independent review into support services for young people entering and in custody at HMYOI Polmont. The independent review was announced in November 2018 following recent deaths of young people in custody. The review will look at a range of issues, including the mental health and other support for young people entering custody. You can read more about the review here.