About The Promise

In October 2016, the First Minister made a commitment to figure out how Scotland could love its most vulnerable children and give them the childhood they deserve. The First Minister commissioned the Independent Care Review and between, February 2017 and February 2020, the Care review worked out how to keep that Promise.

The Care Review published The Promise in February 2020. It was the conclusion of two years of consultation and review of children's services.

The main output of the Care Review is contained within The Promise and the publication of seven reports, that have come out of this programme of work guided by over 5,500 people.  For Scotland to support our children and young people to grow up feeling loved, safe and respected so that they release their full potential, the Promise outlines the need for a redesign of the 'care system' including a fundamental shift in how decisions are made, and money is spent in supporting Scotland's children and families.

The Foundation for Change

The Promise sets out the vision for transformational change.  At the heart of The Promise are 5 foundations for change: 
Where children are safe in their families and feel loved they must stay, and families must be given support together to nurture that love and overcome the difficulties that get in the way.
Children must be listened to and meaningfully and appropriately involved in decision-making about their care with all those involved properly listening and responding to what children want and need.  There must be a compassionate, caring, decision-making culture focused on children and those they trust.

Where living with their family is not possible, children must stay with their brothers and sisters where safe to do so and belong to a loving home, staying there for as long as needed.

The children that Scotland cares for must be actively supported to develop relationships with people in the workforce and wider community who in turn must be supported to listen and be compassionate in their decision-making and care.

Children, families and the workforce must be supported by a system that is there when it is needed.  The scaffolding of help, support and accountability must be ready and responsive when it is required.

The five priority areas and key milestones for Plan 21-24 are:

A Good Childhood 

  • Support
  • A right to education 
  • Relationships
  • Brothers and sisters 
  • Youth Justice 
  • Advocacy 
  • Moving on 
  • Physical Intervation 

Whole Family Support

  • Family Support
  • Peer and Community Support 
  • Service Integration 
  • Family Therapies 


  • Investment 
  • Information Sharing 

Supporting the Workforce

  • Workforce Values 
  • Trauma-informed 
  • Relationships 
  • Workforce Support 

Building Capacity 

  • Legislation 
  • Children's Hearing System 
  • Inspection and Regulation 
  • Policy Coherence 
  • Data Mapping and Collection 
  • Governance Structures

The Change Programme outlines who and what needs to work together to drive towards the changes needed in Plan 21-24.   

Keeping our Promise to you

From now until March 2024 'Our Promise' we promise to ensure:

  • early intervention and prevention will become standard
  • necessary legislative reform underway is met to make sure The Rules are enabling
Page last updated: 01/04/2022
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