With most schools and nurseries closing from today, care leaver charity Staf has called on local authorities to be mindful of the impact on care-experienced parents when devising their local school closure plans.


In the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government for 2020-21, it acknowledged the additional challenges faced by care-experienced parents, particularly as they are less likely to have a strong family network to support them. 


Research carried out by the Independent Care Review also found that care-experienced young people are one and a half times more likely to have financial difficulties and, on average, earn three quarters of the salaries of their peers. Without alternative childcare arrangements, parents who could already be in precarious employment may have to leave work or reduce their working hours.


Staf CEO Jo Derrick said:


“It is a sign of the enormity of the situation we face that the difficult decision has been taken to close most nurseries and schools for a significant period.


“We welcome efforts to protect vulnerable children who may rely on school for hot meals or a safe and supportive environment but agree with a number of charities that cash payments should be provided to families who currently rely on free school meals.


“Furthermore, we are calling on local authorities to be mindful of the additional challenges care-experienced parents face as schools and nurseries close, particularly as they may not have the same strong family support network as their peers.


“We would ask that in setting out their plans for protecting vulnerable children, local authorities also consider care-experienced parents and ensure that they do not face a significant drop in income because of a lack of alternative childcare options.”