The importance of providing appropriate accommodation to care leavers cannot be underestimated. Finding these young people the right accommodation option, at the right time, is critical to helping them build sustainable and successful futures in our communities.
Which is why I welcome the publication of this guidance on the development of Housing Options Protocols for Care Leavers, designed to help corporate parents and Community Planning Partners in their efforts to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of looked after children and care leavers.
The need for local authorities and their partners to develop strong housing options protocols for care leavers follows a number of significant policy developments for Scotland. The Children and Young People Bill, for instance, seeks to extend the age by which care leavers can receive support from corporate parents. Staying Put Scotland, being published alongside this guidance, sets out some new expectations around post-care support, and offers corporate parents practical strategies for realising them. In recent years we have also seen the development of the 'housing options' approach, through the work of five regional hubs. This approach focuses on the needs of the individual and recognises that allocating and sustaining accommodation is about more than just providing housing. This approach has led to falls in homelessness applications and offers clear opportunities for addressing the particular needs of care leavers.
Young people leaving care will have the same hopes for the future as other young people. All of them will want somewhere they can call home. I would like to extend my thanks to the local authorities and members of the Looked After Children Strategic Implementation Group ( LACSIG) who helped draft this guidance. I sincerely hope it will help corporate parents across Scotland as they work to secure positive outcomes for their care leavers.
Minister for Children and Young People