The Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland (referred to as Pathway and Standards) set out what all children in or on the edges of secure care should expect across the continuum of intensive supports and services.

The Pathway and Standards have been co-produced with stakeholders, including children, young people and adults with current and past experience of secure care. They follow a child’s potential journey before, during and after a stay in secure care and are written from their perspective. They include specific standards on the areas children and young people detailed were most important to them and had the greatest impact on their experiences.

The Pathway and Standards provide a framework for ensuring rights are respected and improving experiences and outcomes for children who are experiencing extreme vulnerabilities, needs and risks in their lives. To achieve this for every child and to ensure the full implementation of the Pathway and Standards, it will require the involvement of all those individuals and agencies supporting children who are in, or on the edge of, secure care.

On this website, you will find information on the Pathway and Standards, divided into what every child should expect to achieve before, during and after a stay in secure care. For each standard there are quotes from children and young people with experience of secure care highlighting why this is important.

As the Pathway and Standards are rooted in the existing statutory and policy requirements, and human and children’s rights, there are links to the legislation, policy and guidance. They also complement and give voice and context to the Health and Social Care Standards, so there are illustrative links to these Standards and Education Scotland’s – How good is our school? Quality Indicators.

Why do we need the Pathway and Standards?

The development of the Pathway and Standards was one of the key recommendations and calls for action from the Secure Care National Project. The Secure Care in Scotland: Looking Ahead paper concluded there were a range of expectations and standards which should apply for every child in or on the edges of secure care. These findings echoed those of Scotland’s previous secure care review, Securing Our Future Initiative. As a result, in the 2017-18 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government committed to developing secure care standards and establishing a transformative model for secure care through a new Secure Care Strategic Board.

A multi-agency Pathway and Standards group was established under the Board. They co-produced the Pathway and Standards Scotland with children and young adults with current and past experience of being in, or on the edges of, secure care, including the STARR group and with key stakeholders. The standards were agreed through a process of engagement and validation.

Who are the Pathway and Standards for and why?

  • Children, their parents/carers, families and advocates to understand what their rights are and what they should expect from corporate parents and professionals when being intensively supported in the community or a secure care setting. The implementation of the standard will be individualised based on each child’s assessed strengths, needs, vulnerabilities, risks and circumstances.
  • All practitioners, agencies and corporate parents working with children in or on the edges of secure care, to inform decisions on resources, service design, commissioning, joint working arrangements, self-evaluation and individual support to children and families. The Pathway and Standards are not service-led; rather, they are designed to be applied wherever children are experiencing extreme vulnerabilities, needs and risk in their lives. To be fully implemented they will require the involvement and commitment of various agencies. While parts of the Pathway and Standards will already be met or could be improved quickly and easily, it is recognised that others may be more challenging and take time to fully implement. All agencies should be working towards fully implementing these standards.
  • Secure care services in their strategic and operational development, and self-evaluation.

Secure care pathway and standards: Coproduction process and implementation
plans (Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care)

Maree Todd MSP
Minister for Children and Young People

We are delighted to introduce the new Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland and commend all of the hard work that has gone into creating these new rights-based Standards. We would like to thank everyone involved – you have worked hard to make them innovative and aspirational…creating Standards that will drive change and deliver better outcomes for Scotland’s children. There is still work to be done to ensure that the Standards are implemented successfully. We will support stakeholders to ensure a full understanding of what is required to meet the Standards and improve our approaches to vulnerable children across the continuum of intensive supports and services in Scotland.

Credits and acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many people, including the children and young people with current or previous experience of being in or on the edge of secure care, and organisations who contributed to this website, including:

  • Care Inspectorate
  • Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Edinburgh Secure Service
  • Education Scotland
  • Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Iriss
  • Kibble
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
  • Rossie Young People’s Trust
  • Scotland Excel
  • Scottish Government
  • STAF
  • St Mary’s Kenmure
  • The Good Shepherd Centre
  • The Secure Care Group