CHILDREN growing up in care are bullied for speaking in social work jargon prompting demands for professionals to use clearer language.

Children in care talk about being “LAC kids” (looked after child), discuss their “siblings” rather than their brothers and sisters and often live in a “unit” rather than a home, said Fiona Duncan,chair of the Independent Review of Scotland’s Care System.

An official review of the care system has now called for an immediate end to professionals talking in a language which is contributing to young people being singled out and treated as pariahs.

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive of the advocacy charity for care experienced young people Who Cares? Scotland (WCS), backed the findings.

"This definitely leads to bullying," he said. "Workers just don't think."

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While the Care Review’s final report will not be made to the Scottish Government until 2020, Ms Duncan said young people do not have time to wait for her to report and many changes should be made now.

Ms Duncan is calling for services such as health, education and social work to use language that makes sense to children.

Meanwhile social workers should avoid taking children out of classes for meetings, and remove their council badges in schools so children are not marked out as different.

Since the Care Review began its work, it has spoken to 817 young people who grew up in care or are still living there, as well as nearly 800 paid and volunteer workers involved in the care system.

Over the next three years it is taking a detailed look at some of the complexities around a system which covers everything from children sent to secure units to those still living at home, but with formal social work support. When she launched the independent review in February 2017, first minister Nicola Sturgeon described it as "a precious opportunity to make a difference", It will encompass the cost of care, the children's hearing system, the effects of childhood trauma and how children from backgrounds of neglect and abuse can be helped to feel loved.

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But while the review is intended to cover every aspect of complicated system which is governed by 44 pieces of primary legislation and 19 secondary legislation measures, Ms Duncan says there are a list of issues raised by children which can be addressed now.

Using a traffic light system, measures which the evidence shows work well for young people should be given a green light across the country, she said. These include giving children more choice and say about what happens to them and improving the public understanding of young people in care and why they are there.

Meanwhile measures which lead to children being isolated and rejected should stop. "We know what is working," she said. "Things that make children happier, give them agency and self-confidence should be happening everywhere across Scotland.

"Meanwhile we need to red light things that need to stop. These are actions we can take now,"

Meanwhile there are amber issues where the evidence is not yet irrefutable, but which should be tested more widely, she said, such as the boards of young "care champions" who meet with officials in some council areas to discuss issues and policies.

"Children don’t want to wait until 2020 for things to change. Their timeframes are not review timeframes, there is an urgency about this," Ms Duncan said.

"I live in a home. Why do children say they live in a unit, or talk about their siblings? It creates stigma, marks them out from other children and means they are ostracised.

"Taking young people out of school for meetings means they miss out on education that other children are getting. That creates stigma but also breaches their rights."

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Ms Duncan said she plans to announce more details about the work of the Care Review shortly. She added: "The government talks about making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up and that really resonates with children. This is the most important job I’ve ever had in my life, and it is the biggest privilege to make sure it delivers and make sure it sticks."

The Care Review's initial findings were welcomed by Duncan Dunlop, of WCS.

He said: "It is disgrace that young people are pulled out of school to go a children's hearing. It happens only because it suits the adults and professionals involved - even if it would be better for the child to meet in the evenings or at weekends.

"If a social worker wanders in with a lanyard and pulls you out of a class, other young people ask where you are going. It definitely leads to bullying.

"Language really matters and if you speak to a child and they sound like a social worker because they speak in jargon, of course they will be left out. Other young people can be brutal and they can see difference as a weakness.

"Care experienced young people should be given a voice so they can help decide which other teachers or pupils know they are in care and what they know."

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Earlier this month Dundee West MP Chris Law told listeners to BBC Scotland's Kaye Adams Show that when they found out he was in care, some parents refused to let their children play with him.

Follow this link if you wish to take part in Scotland's Care Review