TENANCY will be guaranteed to Wee County youngsters leaving council care after the local authority made a raft of commitments last week.

A first in Scotland, Clackmannanshire Council pledged to be good corporate parents at an event in Alloa last week to give care experienced children and young people the best start in life.

The key aim is to ensure than no one leaving care has to declare themselves homeless to access accommodation.

The council was joined by other organisations in adopting commitments to make sure care leavers receive the support they need.

The promises came as the rate of looked-after children in Clackmannanshire is higher than the Scottish average with a total of 219 people included as of June this year.

Further pledges included a promise to help care leavers “access meaningful opportunities for further education, college, university, training and work”, a belief that care experienced people “have a lot to contribute” and a promise to put in place more accessible ways for them to express their views.

Moreover, promises were made to reduce the time it takes to secure a home for care leavers, to listen to them and understand the issues that affect their health and wellbeing and to work in partnership with people to prevent homelessness.

Council leader Cllr Ellen Forson, who chairs the Clackmannanshire Corporate Parenting Group, promised to “take actions that will improve the lives of care experienced children and young people”.

She said: “I am proud that Clackmannanshire Council is the first council in Scotland to guarantee a tenancy for our care leavers.

“The promises we have made demonstrate our commitment to being good corporate parents, ensuring good outcomes for all the young people in Clackmannanshire.

“I’m proud to chair of the Clackmannanshire Corporate Parenting Group and will be doing everything I can to ensure our responsibilities are met.”

The local authority is also set to revise its corporate parenting plan this October.

If approved at a full council meeting, the new plan will look to make sure children in Clackmannanshire are safe from harm; have the best possible start in life; grow up healthy, confident and resilient; and have the skills for life, work and learning.

Morag Cantwell, advocacy and participation worker at Who Cares? Scotland, added: “This is a huge commitment by Clackmannanshire Council.

“They are leading the way and we will be promoting this as an example of best practice. Hopefully other local authorities will follow.

“It will not be an easy task, but then, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

“The voices of the care experienced young people have been heard and have been acted upon.

“By working together we can make a positive difference to the care journeys of our children and young people.”