There are many things I've learnt as a parent. Try not to laugh when you are telling you're kid off (sometimes it's not easy). It's ok to hide in the toilet for peace and quiet. And never break a pinky promise. Ever.
"The promise", the report from the Independent Care Review, into the care system for children in Scotland, makes my heart sing and ache in equal measure. Sing, because I hope it will be a watershed moment, that finally young people are being listened to, that the changes many in social work have been crying out for are now being embraced. About keeping families together. Not splitting up brothers and sisters. Listening to children about what they need. Giving children love and compassion. Building relationships and maintaining these throughout a lifetime. Ache, because I am all too aware that this review has come too late for some, young people who didn't receive enough support, didn't have relationships they could count on, or receive the support they needed, and have had difficult lives as a result. Too many care experienced young people have lost their lives far too soon because of the damage the system has done to them.
So where now? The review is a start, but this is where the hard work needs to begin. To implement its recommendations, we need someone who can cut through the power structures and egos which exist at management level within many organisations.
The reason this review is different is because of the involvement of care experienced people in its completion, and they need to be at the forefront of making the changes required. But the movement still needs a figurehead, someone who will pay existing structures no respect, and if something isn't working, have the clout to rip it up and start again. I was sad to hear that Fiona Duncan is due to end her involvement with the Care Review at the end of March, as she has done a fantastic job. If it is not Fiona who will lead the change, it must be someone of similar standing and approach, who will make sure the changes that are needed take place. The next generation of young people need this.
Remember, you can never break a pinky promise. The children and young people of Scotland are watching.