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Michael Stewart, our Area Support and Improvement Partner has written a blog to mark Care Experience week 2022.  In it, he talks about one of CHS’ partner organisations, WhoCares? Scotland and their important work. 

On Sunday 23rd October I attended the Who Cares? Scotland AGM and launch of their new Strategic Plan, and took part in the Love Rally, a march from Glasgow Green to Glasgow’s George Square to raise awareness and champion the rights of the care community in Scotland.

I have been fortunate enough to be involved with Who Cares? Scotland for most of my professional social work life, when they have offered advocacy support to some of the children I was a social worker for, or when they delivered training to foster carers who I supported in another role.  On Sunday I was pleased to be elected by the membership to become a member of their board.

Who Cares? Scotland is a national voluntary organisation, working with care experienced young people and care leavers across Scotland. As part of their commitment to the care community they have launched the Lifelong Rights Campaign.

To keep The Promise, Who Cares? Scotland’s Lifelong Rights campaign asks for:

  • The right to independent, lifelong advocacy for every Care Experienced person in Scotland.
  • Care Experienced people are seen and heard as a group of rights-holders, with a seat at the table.
  • Equity and rights for Care Experienced people in Scotland with lifelong protection and support.

As a care experienced adult, I was not fortunate enough to have such an organisation “in my corner” as I navigated leaving care and moving into adulthood, and their role in being a stable presence in the lives of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people right when they need them, cannot be underestimated.  Their key strategic priorities, Upholding Rights; Influencing change; Creating Communities that Care; Creating Connections and; Providing Opportunities which are formally published next week synchronises with the recently launched CHS Vision.

I am confident that my personal and professional experience will help the organisation develop over the coming years, and that experience I will gain from my trustee role will help me support CHS volunteers and staff to meet our vision of upholding and promoting children’s rights; the provision of child and family friendly care and justice and, ensuring that participation is at the heart of the hearing system as we deliver the ambitions of The Promise, and the recommendations made by the Hearings System Working Group, due in 2023.