Extraordinary Lives

Commissioned by the government, this report set out the findings of a review conducted by the Chief Social Work Inspector.

Its purpose was, "to demonstrate what good care for children and young people who are looked after by local authorities looks like, to identify good practice and recommend in what ways care can be further improved."

Six key messages were identified:

  • looked-after children can overcome adversity;
  • too many adults have low expectations of what looked-after children can achieve;
  • relationships with skilled adults can help looked-after children;
  • children looked after away from home need stability and the chance to put down roots;
  • tacking disadvantage requires planning at every level within local authorities and between partners, champions are needed to deliver the best possible care; and 
  • understanding what children think about services supports effective engagement and long-term planning.

The central finding of the review was that "we cannot leave the care of looked-after children to the goodwill of their carers and hope for the best."

The review concluded that, "the single most important thing that will improve the futures of Scotland's looked-after children is for local authorities to focus on and improve their corporate parenting skills."

Read it in full