Staf Organisational Response

Who we are

Staf, formerly the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum, was formed in 1998 and is Scotland's national membership organisation for all of those involved in the lives of young people leaving care.

Staf is the only membership organisation for frontline workers and managers focused on the throughcare and aftercare of young people from a care-experienced background, with over 70 members.

Our response

Question 1: Do you agree with the intention of this draft order to further increase the higher age limit for persons eligible for continuing care from twenty to twenty-one years of age, with effect from 1 April 2019?

Staf is fully supportive of the policy intention of this Order. We believe that the life chances of young people should not be determined by their care experience and increasing the age of eligibility for Continuing Care will bring us closer to achieving this vision for all young people. We know that, on average, non-care experienced young people remain living in their family home into early adulthood – we hope that full implementation of this policy will mean care experienced young people have comparable support.

Question 2: Do you have any other comments on this consultation on the Continuing Care (Scotland) Amendment Order 2019?

We note that the background information published with this consultation does not provide any information on the financial resources identified to achieve the policy intention and an increase in eligible young people.

Our Focus Group on the ‘Implications of Continuing Care’ recommended in May 2018 that government-led ring-fenced funding should be put in place to ensure that parts 10 and 11 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 are fully implemented and practice is embedded.

In particular, adequate funding should be provided to ensure:

  • foster carers and kinship carers continue to be paid at the same level as they would have if the young person was not on a Continuing Care placement;
  • young people living away from their placement during college or university term time are supported;
  • young people who are now included in the justice system can return to their carer; and
  • young people have access to specialist services such as CAMHS and independent advocacy.

In addition, support, learning and practice development opportunities should be provided for residential carers, foster carers, kinship carers and frontline social workers in the care of the ‘older young person’. Children’s Hearing Panel Members should also be trained so that they can make fully informed decisions for young people aged 16-17 where there is an option to terminate their Compulsory Supervision Order.

We also believe that it should be made clear, either by legislative amendment or by Ministerial Letter, that where a young person who is now in Continuing Care, the foster or kinship care placement will continue to the age of 21 and will not be considered an Adult Care Placement.

Finally, children’s rights and other advocacy groups should be supported to ensure all young people are made aware and kept up-to-date with their rights.

We firmly believe that applying these recommendations, particularly ring-fenced funding, will drastically improve the implementation of the policy intention of this Order.

The Briefing Paper published by Staf in May 2018 can be accessed here.