On 18 May 2021 we discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the human rights of care experienced people in Scotland.

On the panel were:

Megan Sutherland, Vice-Chair of Who Cares? Scotland
Fiona Duncan, Chair of the “The Promise”
Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland
Carly Elliott, Director of Influencing, Who Cares? Scotland

Together the panel discussed the experiences of children in care during the pandemic, including short-term recommendations and long term solutions, what the data and advocacy is telling us and what difference UNCRC incorporation could make.

The event was chaired by chaired by Kezia Dugdale, Director of the John Smith Centre at the University of Glasgow.

Megan SutherlandMegan Sutherland is currently studying at the University and she has recently completed her dissertation, ‘Protecting Children’s Rights in a Crisis: Examining impact of COVID-19 responses on the Human Rights of Care Experienced Children and Young People in Scotland’, in partial fulfilment of the MA Social and Public Policy (Hons).

Here Megan shares some thoughts in advance of the Care, Rights and Covid 19 webinar on Tuesday 18 May, 2021.

“For what may be the first time for many, the general population has had some experience through COVID-19 of what it may be like to be a child in care; to have their daily routines mandated by the state, loss of control and uncertainty being dominant causes of anxiety, contact with family prohibited, and potential food insecurity and mental health challenges. Still, this does not mean this crisis has been easier for our most vulnerable young people who often were already facing such barriers to leading a ‘normal’ life.

There is sustained and substantial evidence through numerous abuse inquiries that public authorities are failing in their duty to safeguard the rights of every child in their care. It is because of, rather than despite, the intense pressures and changes the pandemic is catalysing for our care services, that proactive protection of these rights is needed now more than ever. It worried me that there didn’t seem to be much research happening on how children entitled to special support and protection were encountering the pandemic, and what their views and wishes were.

This dissertation was written to amplify their experiences, identify the key challenges facing this group and make clear how those with responsibility for their wellbeing could better address these.

The John Smith Centre works to promote public trust and minority voices in politics. As an intern with the John Smith Centre, I am grateful for their support to host this webinar bringing together policymakers and professionals to turn these academic findings into day-to-day reality for children in Scotland’s care.”