A fund which aims to reduce the number of children and young people in care has been announced by the Scottish Government.
The £500m Whole Family Wellbeing Fund was set out as part of the Programme for Government.
It seeks to help families to overcome challenges before they reach a crisis point.
It is hoped the scheme will help to “significantly reduce” the number of children and young people who are in care by 20230.
The fund will provide support across a range of issues including child and adolescent mental health, child poverty, alcohol and drugs misuse, and educational attainment.
Deputy first minister John Swinney outlined the Government’s ambition to ‘Keep The Promise’ – a pledge that was agreed in 2020 after ministers accepted the conclusions of all the reports produced by the Independent Care Review.
“We want to create a Scotland where more children will only know care, compassion and love, and not a ‘care system’,” said Swinney.
“The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund, backed by at least £500m over this Parliamentary term, will help us to make this a reality and prevent families reaching crisis point.
“Our ambition is that, from 2030, we will be investing at least 5% of all community-based health and social care spend in preventative whole family support measures that will enable us to continue to Keep The Promise.
“This fund, focused on prevention, will enable the building of universal, holistic support services, available in communities across Scotland, giving families access to the help they need, where and when they need it.”
Chair of The Promise Scotland, Fiona Duncan, said that the funding announced is a “step in the right direction”.
She said: “The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund is welcome and The Promise Scotland looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to ensure it leads to more children and young people staying together with their families, wherever it is safe for them to do so, to feel loved, and to receive the help and support they need, when they need it.
“The Promise Scotland continues to work to ensure Scotland Keeps the Promise and work is on track to deliver the first part of the transformative route map by 2024.
“This funding is a step in the right direction towards ensuring we all Keep the Promise.”
She added: “It was also announced in Programme for Government that as part of the work to Keep The Promise, young people who leave care will be able to access a new Care Experience Grant.
“The £200 a year grant for 16 to 26 year olds, backed by annual investment of up to £10m, recognises the financial disadvantages often experienced by those in care.”