We aim to hear, reflect and act on the voice of young people leaving care. By doing so, we will create a care system that prioritises what is important to care-experienced young people.

To do that, the voice of young people feeds into all of our events, learning and development opportunities and policy influence – guiding us as we focus on the issues that matter to them, working with our members to overcome the barriers that they and our young people face.

From our inception, the voice of young people has been at the heart of everything we do. Less than a year after the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, Staf took young people with experience of leaving care to Holyrood to tell MSPs their story.

In 2002 we began our first major project, The Debate Project, a pioneering group of care leavers from across Scotland who were empowered to make their voice heard by decision-makers.

The Debate Project would last for 11 years and its success led to creation of The Voices, a group of care-experienced young people who came together in 2015. This two-year project gathered the views of young people from across Scotland and these influenced Staf policy, including our responses to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and beyond.

In 2016 Connecting Voices was developed by a group of young people in East Ayrshire in collaboration with Staf and supported them to participate in decision-making, understand their rights and engage with corporate parents.

Shannon Brown, Youth Facilitator at Staf, was a member of Connecting Voices and has now realised her dream of by creating ‘Shannon’s Box’ for young people entering care. Read more about Shannon’s Box here.

We have now begun a new project, in partnership with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, to amplify the voice of young people with experience of the care and justice systems. The project has brought together a steering group of young people, Youth Just Us, who are already making their voice heard. Find out how you can get involved here.

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