Care Leaver Payment Consultation

Children and Families


January 2023 


Social Work Scotland is the professional body for social work leaders, working closely with our partners to shape policy and practice, and improve the quality and experience of social services. We are committed to the rights-based principles and values of our profession, and therefore supportive of the ambitions of the Promise and efforts to improve the lives of those with whom we work.  We welcome this opportunity to comment on the revised proposals to provide additional financial support to care leavers in the form of a Care Leaver Payment. 

Social Work Scotland as an organisation is supportive of efforts to improve the situation of those who are, or have been, in contact with our care system. We recognise the well-researched impact of the trauma experienced by children and young people, particularly where this results in a period in care. The experience of care, even where necessary and positive, involves separation from family which in itself can have a lifelong impact; an impact which may include lower levels of resilience, and less robust financial circumstances and available support.  As an organisation representing leaders in a profession working with those families and young people, we seek to influence practice and policy to improve the experiences of children and families. Underpinning much of this is the recognition of the importance of combating financial need and the impact of poverty. 

In formulating this response, we also recognise the wider context. Recent years have seen a steadily growing gap between ambition, investment, and ability to deliver, resulting in cumulative pressures on staff and those with whom we work. The expression of this context includes staffing shortages, issues with recruitment and increased demand because of both greater levels of need following the covid 19 pandemic, and the plethora of new initiatives and improvements. It is also a context of financial pressures, change and uncertainty which is causing anxiety and uncertainty for both the public and the workforce. It is critical that this wider context is acknowledged in each new initiative, with attention to ensuring the simplest, most effective and implementable approach. 

Social Work Scotland have appreciated inclusion in earlier considerations which have informed this consultation and look forward to ongoing engagement as the work is refined. 

The reflections within this response are draw from consultation with our membership which covers senior leaders, including Chief Social Work Officers, service and team manager from across the country in both local authorities and third sector involved in delivery of services to children and adults. We have drawn on both recent comments and those related to earlier iterations of the payment. 

Please note that Social Work Scotland has also responded to the consultation on the Social Security (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.