Children who grow up in care are treated like second class citizens and their rights are infringed daily, according to a new report.

The findings, based work by the charity Who Cares? advocating for 'looked after' young people , will be presented to first minister Nicola Sturgeon today (Friday).

The report is titled "We Don't Have to Wait" and the charity is highlighting demands which it says cannot be left until the outcome of the Independent Care Review commissioned by the Scottish Government or subject to other policy delays.

Calls for improvements, such as enabling children in care to experience love and not to be separated from siblings, are not new, the report says. 

"We are ... with some of these actions, repeating ourselves and the words of care experienced people from decades ago. This has to be the last time this happens," it adds.

It lists six areas in which the charity claims action is needed now:  accountability, love, health, home, education and employment.

It says rights young people are fighting for include things like seeing their brothers and sisters, staying in the same home for longer than a year and being heard in legal processes about their life.

The charity, which delivers independent advocacy for young people with experience of Scotland's care system warns any planned changes to care in Scotland will be harder to achieve if young people don’t have a meaningful say in what happens in their lives. 

Decades of data was analysed for the report and the charity says that despite a growing commitment across the board to making things better, too many decisions are still influenced by the available resources and restricted by red tape, rather than what is best for young people.

Who Cares? also claims too much power lies in the hands of those delivering care and young people should be given more of a say in decisions taken about their lives.

The charity says its advocacy service has seen a doubling of young people asking for help in relation to spending time with parents or brothers and sisters, and the number of young people looking for support with 'being heard' in relation to their lives has increased year on year for four years.

Duncan Dunlop, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland said: "We would love to be in a situation where independent advocacy was not needed, because children’s views and desires are respected. This data shows we are a long way from that. 

“We have welcomed, at every turn, the commitment and determination of those responsible for young people in care to make things better. These statistics tell us that there is now a need to speed up and deepen those efforts. It would be completely unacceptable for Who Cares? Scotland to release a report in ten years that identified the same issues."

Caroline Richardson, Advocacy & Participation Manager at Who Cares? Scotland said: 

“It will be surprising to people that there is a demand for children to attend so many meetings, with so many adults. It will also be surprising to people that in some instances, the organisation that provides the care a young person receives is also the same organisation that provides their advocacy. That isn’t independent advocacy. 

“We’re for the number of young people who have access to independent advocacy to increase rapidly.” 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “All children and young people in Scotland should be able to grow up loved, safe and respected, and succeed in life.

“It is clearly unacceptable that some of our most vulnerable children and young people living in, or leaving, the care system face barriers to achieving this, which is why we set up the Independent Care Review which has the voice of children and young people with experience of care at its heart.

“This report's recommendations will be considered in conjunction with the Care Review so that we join up all the work that is going on across Scotland to improve care experience.

"Scottish Government officials, Who Cares? Scotland and the Care Review will be meeting as soon as possible to start to consider this. However, we will also consider whether any of the proposals can be implemented ahead of the care review concluding its work.”