We started to listen and take action in 1979 and we haven’t stopped since
For 40 years, Who Cares? Scotland has held voluntary relationships with care experienced people across Scotland which are independent from statutory services. We started listening in 1979 to the views, hopes and dreams of children and young people and taking action – and we haven’t stopped since.
Our action, our responsibility
The potential to realise life-changing reforms to the care experience of children and young people dependent on statutory support for their childhood is closer than ever before. There is significant investment and backing for this. There is significant responsibility on us all to deliver this. The Care Experienced population has been promised this transformation and we want to make sure that all of us at Who Cares? Scotland do everything within our power to ensure it is realised.
We believe an important contribution to this lies in helping Care Experienced people to have their voice and their experiences understood by people in Scotland. In order to deliver on the transformation promised, we need people in Scotland to want to be part of the change.
Our vision is to do everything we can to secure a lifetime of equality, respect and love for Care Experienced people. We know that people in Scotland are crucial to ensuring this is achieved. People in Scotland now need to be asked to play their role in the transformation that lies ahead. We trust that when Care Experienced people’s voices are heard and their experiences are understood, people’s values, attitudes and behaviours can change for the better. It’s time to let people in Scotland hear those voices and understand those experiences. We will help people in Scotland to do that with a public education campaign that is voice led and experience driven.
Four decades of listening and acting
In 1979, the first ever gathering of Care Experienced young people in Musselburgh took place, when around 90 young people attended and shared their views with each other. They spoke about how involved they felt in decisions made about their lives, the level of support that they received and life after care. These issues remain too common to Scotland’s care experienced population today.
For the next decade, until 1988, ‘Supportive adults’ (many who were social workers), gave up their time to help Who Cares? Scotland to work with local groups of care experienced young people. The rights of the child gained more focus throughout the eighties across the U.K. and Europe. With the introduction of the ‘Charter of Rights’ in 1986 and the introduction of the ‘United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child’ in 1989, Who Cares? Scotland wanted to ensure, on the back of these developments, that care experienced young people’s rights had a platform via independent advocacy.
Throughout the nineties and into the early noughties, recommendations from several inquiries highlighted the need for Care Experienced children and young people to have access to independent advocacy. Who Cares? Scotland continued to build its independent advocacy provision during this time. The terms of our independent advocacy is always set by the child and, over time, a relationship built on trust and voluntary engagement is secured.
Care Experienced people often bring Who Cares? Scotland workers into their lives when they feel they aren’t being listened to, or they want to change the direction or impact of a decision that has been made about them or for them. However, over time and as our relationships develop, this means we often get to share in moments which are important. This continues to be a privilege for every one of us at Who Cares? Scotland. We are driven to want those great moments to be more frequent and celebrated for every single child or young person who has chosen for us to be part of their lives.
From a modest provision of 12 advocates covering 29 Local Authorities in Scotland in 1997 to a diverse group of 137 staff providing a range of advocacy, participation and influencing activities across all of Scotland today, we have continued to listen and to take action for those who ask us to and who need us to. And we won’t stop until a lifetime of equality, respect and love is secured for Care Experienced people.
Find out more about our experience, evidence and ask.