Throughout their interviews with young people, the Voices found that relationships was a recurring theme across the country. As they interviewed young people throughout Scotland, it became clear just how much relationships matter to care-experienced young people, no matter who it is: social worker, foster parent, or throughcare worker.

They found that, for a variety of reasons, there is often a gap between what the young people want to receive from a care relationship and what can be offered. They also found that at the centre of every single positive story they heard, there was that one strong relationship with a person who was willing to go the extra mile and show that they cared. The examples they heard about included:

  • Social workers going the extra mile by taking young people to the beach to walk their dogs.
  • Foster carers really caring and keeping in touch after the placement ended, showing a genuine interest in the young people's lives and school.
  • Young people being invited over to their old foster placements for Christmas dinner every year, even if the placement was relatively short and ended years ago.

When asked what they looked for in a perfect foster carer or worker, young people said:

Love, Support, Trust, Honesty

The Voices found that safely pushing the boundaries of relationships and workers being willing to go the extra mile can make an unimaginable difference.

A positive, trusted influence can change the path a young person goes down, leading them to a better life. One example the Voices heard was from a young person who ran away from their foster placement and ended up at their social worker's house. If this young person hadn't had such a good relationship with their worker, who knows where they could have fled to or what danger they could have put themselves in - Relationships Matter!

- Read the full report: 'Listen...Can You Hear Their Voices?'