The Scottish Independent Care Review

The Independent Care Review

The Independent Care Review’s aim is to identify and deliver lasting change in Scotland’s care system and leave a legacy that will transform the wellbeing of infants, children and young people.

In October 2016, after meeting with and listening to children and young people in care, Scotland’s First Minister announced “an independent, root and branch review of the care system” to look at “the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos”.

The Independent Care Review began its work in February 2017 and by November of the same year it was agreed that the Care Review would take up to three years to conclude.

The lived experience and wisdom of people are at the very heart of the Care Review. That means actively listening to the voices of children and young people in care, care leavers – young and old – and families and carers. The Care Review has listened to more than 5,500 experiences. Over half of those were children and young people with experience of the ‘care system’, adults who have lived in care and their families. The rest came from the unpaid and paid workforce. These experiences are the heart of the Care Review’s work and guided and shaped its conclusions.

Based on the findings, the Care Review demands the following changes:

  • The balance of power must be upended so that listening to children and young people is always the basis of all decisions made about their lives.
  • There must be a focus on building and maintaining life-long relationships – that includes a broader understanding of the risk of not having long term, loving relationships.
  • Scotland must parent, not process, children so there is no difference between the lives of children in care and their peers. Care experienced children must not miss out on the kind of childhood that many take for granted and the future that all our young people deserve.
  • Families must be kept together wherever it is safe to do so. Families must get the support that is right for them at the earliest opportunity and it must be flexible, consistent, patient and free from stigma. This will mean that more children can live a safe, happy life at home with their families.

The report has identified five foundations for change, with over 80 specific changes that must be made to transform how Scotland cares for children and families as well as the unpaid and paid workforce.

The final report of the Review - published in six parts listed below - was launched on 5 February 2020 and welcomed by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, in a statement made to the Scottish Parliament that same day.

Read also several statements from other organizations in Scotland welcoming the Review.

The report is divided into six parts:

Accompanying materials include:



Articles highlighting the findings of the review include:

Download the Infographics here: