How Can We Be Better Corporate Parents?

According to the Who Cares Trust about 75,000 children are in care in the UK.  They also provide a sobering list of statistics about the life chances of those in care compared with those who are not.  So, for example:

  • Only 13% of children in care obtain five good GCSEs – compared with 62% of all children.
  • Only 6% of care leavers go to university – compared with 38% of all young people.
  • One third of care leavers are not in education, employment or training – compared with 13% of all young people.
  • More than half of all children in care have at least one mental health problem – compared with one in ten of the general child population.

Hence there is a huge responsibility on local councils to provide the best support possible for those children who, through no fault of their own, fnd themselves in local authority care. 

Corporate Parenting is the name that describes this responsibility.  According to the Improvement & Development Agency:

Corporate parenting places collective responsibility on local authorities to achieve good parenting for all children in their care. It requires ownership and leadership at a senior level, this includes all elected members.

In Swansea there are 570 children in care (a 25% increase since April 2009) and the Child & Family Services Board have decided at their last meeting that they want to investigate how councillors can best meet their responsibility as corporate parents.

One of the issues that the board is keen to explore is whether people understand this role in the same way.  The term is mentioned often but people may well have different ideas about what in practice this legal duty means for Local Councils. 

 The work will be carried out by a Task & Finish Group (a select number of Board Members) and aim to conclude by September. By the time the Board meets again on 30th June we’ll have a detailed plan for this review and a clear idea about the people and organisations that could contribute evidence that will influence the Board’s conclusions and recommendations.

 The Task & Finish Group will expect to examine guidance, learn about experiences here and elsewhere and hear from ‘experts’. Any ideas to help the Board plan its work and shed light on this area are welcome.

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  1. […] review itself had a very simple and specific question: ‘How Can We Be Better Corporate Parents?’ The backdrop to this review was the dramatic rise in looked after children numbers across Wales […]

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