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The impact of the national care standards in Scotland : putting Article 20 into practice?

Stevens, Irene (2008) The impact of the national care standards in Scotland : putting Article 20 into practice? International Journal of Childrens Rights, 16 (2). pp. 263-279. ISSN 0927-5568

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Abstract

Article 20 of the UNCRC entitles young people in residential care to 'special protection.' This presents a challenge to states parties about how such protection can be guaranteed. It is suggested that one way to do this is through the establishment and monitoring of standards. The National Care Standards are the baseline for measuring the quality of care in residential establishments in Scotland. This study was funded by the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, the body charged with the responsibility of inspecting children's homes in Scotland. It set out to elicit the views of young people about their experience of care and to develop a framework for their participation in the inspection process. This paper presents some of the findings from the study. In particular, it will outline the views of young people about their care in light of Article 20. 24 young people aged between 15 and 19 years, took part in the study. The findings indicated that young people have a mixed experience of their care setting. They reported experiencing good support, improving living environments and a range of developmental opportunities. Staff attitudes, as demonstrated by listening, expressing care, and spending time with them, were central to positive experiences. However, on a negative note, young people often reported not feeling safe and raised questions in relation to staff training. Young people also questioned the effectiveness of complaints procedures. Analysis of the findings and implications for practice are explored.