Duncan Dunlop


Duncan Dunlop brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and 20 years experience of working with and for vulnerable young people. He is qualified to master’s level in Youth and Community Work.

He has led the development of youth-work infrastructure and programmes in a range of environments from Lithuania and Ghana to The Balkans and across the UK. He has always worked to support vulnerable young people develop as individuals, but to also help them grow their societies, whether transitioning out of communism, conflict or in poverty.

His work with children and young people with experience of care in Scotland over the last 6 years is a continuation of this role in championing their rights as they are amongst the most discriminated in our society. Prior to joining Who Cares? Scotland he was the Head of Programmes at The Venture Trust with a focus on care leavers. Since January 2012, Duncan has worked as Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, the leading Scottish independent advocacy charity, which speaks out for young people in care.


Love not Labels – the power of the care experienced voice

In Scotland over the last 2 ½ years the care-experienced identity has been liberated. Children to young adults have claimed their care identity and with it they have made a significant impact on themselves and the care system. By sharing their life-stories and reflecting on what their needs were whilst in care, they succeeded in increasing the care leaving age to 21. This is progress that will improve the life-chances of future care generations.

This presentation charts how this transformation occurred and demonstrates its most powerful driver – the care experienced voice owning its identity. The central hypothesis is that by including the care experienced voice in determining children and young people’s own care journeys we access a different perspective on what they need. Their voice has made it clear that firstly, in all cultural contexts, a quality care system must be based on long-term loving relationships. Secondly, we need to eradicate the stigma and discrimination that is felt when young people are placed and labelled within a care system.

In Scotland an increase in the care leaving age is only the first step towards the goal of forging a loving and stigma-free care system. The presentation will end highlighting how much more we can and will all do.

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Download Duncan Dunlop’s UKKMbF15 slides