THE tragic death of William Lindsay at Polmont Young Offenders Institute is a damning indictment of the system when it comes to addressing the needs of our most damaged children and young people.

Too many children and young people in care, like William, are falling through the cracks. It is a poor reflection on us as a society that those children and young people who are care-experienced are far more likely to have a mental health condition and are 20 times more likely to be dead by the age of 25, compared with those who have not been in care.

It is also shocking that we don’t even have an accurate roll-call of those who have died in care. Care-experienced people will, however, rhyme off the names of their peers who are now dead, often through drink, drugs, suicide or murder.

The “root and branch” review of Scotland’s care system commissioned by the Scottish Government is to be welcomed, but will clearly take some time to deliver results. In the meantime we need as a society to do much more to support those who are care-experienced, and that includes adequate mental health support.

In this context the Scottish Government introduced a policy in 2014 that councils should provide care for young people up to the age of 21, in the same type of accommodation that they have been in previously. However, the 20 councils that responded to a freedom of information request stated that 3,117 young people were eligible for continuing care in July 2017, but only 177 were offered, or had requested, the option.

These statistics highlight that nowhere near enough eligible young people are being supported to take up a continuing care placement.

Care-experienced children are our children. The state is the parent and we’re all responsible for their care. Our taxes pay for it and we also all pay the price of their life chances being limited by poor health and opportunities. There are real challenges and real problems in the system, and it diminishes us a society when we do not support the most vulnerable in our midst adequately.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Tom McGhee, Chairman, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School; Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations; Lynn Bell, CEO, Love Learning Scotland

READ MORE: Questions 'rightly asked' after teenager takes own life at Polmont

I’VE written in the past criticising Martin Hannan regarding his analysis and sometime acquiescence of the sectarian situation in (especially) central Scotland, but lately I’ve been impressed by his honesty and his fearless journalism.

Having said this, and picking up his obvious sincerity about his grandfather/poppy wearing and pride he feels, I believe he is speaking from the heart not his head (Remembering the fallen is a part of the Celtic story, November 12).

My father was in the RAF, my uncle was involved in the D-Day landings, yet it doesn’t stop me being suspicious of all the poppy-wearing experienced over the last few weeks.

I’m sure Martin, who is a very intelligent person, has found it difficult to reconcile his views when we see the hypocritical politicians, the churches, the royals, generals and fat cats who make extortionate amount of money out of weapons of mass destruction lay wreaths and march by the cenotaph.

Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by war and yet it still goes on. The establishment need these types of events not only to show false sadness but also to help recruitment to future generations.

If their welfare was so important to the establishment there would be no need for charities like Help for Heroes etc – they would all be looked after by the state that employed them.

I never wear a poppy and I’m proud of this, but totally respect the ordinary men and women who do. However, the best legacy for Martin’s grandfather is peace, for the millions of families in France/Germany/Russia/USA and throughout the world. The outward show of grief shown by Trump/Putin/May, while still endangering future younger generations to more war, is worth fighting against rather than the paraphernalia and falseness expressed by the people in power.

D Gill
via email

READ MORE: Remembering the fallen is a part of the Celtic FC story​

DAVID Neilson in his letter of November 13 is exactly right in saying that inappropriate planning is down to over-centralisation.

This extends to central government as much as to local councils. I have written to housing minister Kevin Stewart in the past with evidence that “local” planners have and are not following national planning guidelines.

His response was that he was not minded to do anything and advised me to take the matter to the Court of Session. I could almost hear the shrug of his shoulders in his letter.

For him to deny communities a voice in planning based on his idea that planners are best placed to make decisions is wrong, and he knows it is wrong.

If he had a shred of decency he would stand aside and let someone with some community respect take his place.

Ceri Williams

READ MORE: Letters, November 13