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Corporate parenting resource pack

Guidance

Looking after and protecting children and young people is one of the most important jobs that councils do and when a child, for whatever reason, can’t safely stay at home, it is up to us as the local authority to step in and give them the care, support and stability that they deserve. This isn’t just up to the lead member or director of children’s services – we need everyone looking out for our most vulnerable children and young people, and every councillor has a role to play. This pack aims to help them fulfil that role as effectively as possible.

Being a corporate parent means doing everything we can for every child in the council’s care – and every care leaver – to give them the opportunities that other children get. This covers everything from keeping an eye on their progress at school, to looking after their health and wellbeing, to preparing them for life as independent adults – and supporting them when they get there. We need to be ambitious for the children in our care, encouraging them to dream big and take chances even if they don’t feel like that’s been an option in the past.

It’s also about the smaller things that make life more fulfilling. It’s about making sure children receive birthday cards, are rewarded when they do well (and supported when they don’t), get to take part in the activities they enjoy and have new experiences. It’s about making sure someone’s on the end of a phone when a care leaver is having a hard day at work or university, or is there to help them navigate an application form. It’s about doing the things you’d do for your own children.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 defined for the first time in law the responsibility of corporate parents to ensure, as far as possible, secure, nurturing and positive experiences for looked-after children and young people, and care leavers. Councils across the country already do a fantastic job of this, and we’ve highlighted some examples in this pack. We’d be delighted to hear of any others to add to our online good practice database for others to learn from, to make sure every councillor has the tools they need to be a good corporate parent.

Many of the children who come into our care will face more challenges before they reach adulthood than any child should have to. It is our duty and our privilege to fight their corner and give them every opportunity to reach their potential.