Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Kathleen Marshall, has announced that she will not seek reappointment when her term of office comes to an end next April.
The Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body (SPCB) will recruit her successor.
Kathleen Marshall said how grateful she was for the help and support she’d received from many individuals, groups and particularly children and young people who had helped to shape her work and made it so rewarding:
“It has been a great privilege to be Scotland’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People.
“I hope I have made a difference to the lives of children, especially those whose rights were most under threat, such as asylum seekers, children with disabilities and those in care.
“However, I believe ten years would be too long to stay in the post. This seems the right time to step down as it is a natural break and the office is ready to consult on a new set of priorities.”
The Commissioner’s report on the age of leaving care showed that eight times more young people left care at 16 than at 18, despite law and policy advocating that they stay in for longer. It was clear that there was a strong culture that led people to identify 16 as the age for leaving care. Activities designed to shift this culture have included a parliamentary debate and distribution of thousands of leaflets, designed with the help of some of the young people affected.
Kathleen Marshall emphasised that her work was not yet finished:
“[T]he coming months will be dominated by the UN’s scrutiny of the UK’s record in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I was in Geneva in June to tell the UN how I saw the situation. I will be there again on 23rd September to watch the Government being questioned. And I will be working after that to ensure that the UN’s recommendations are monitored and translated into reality.”