East Lothian Council is consulting on its Draft Corporate Parenting Plan for 2021-2023.
A corporate parent is an organisation or individual who has special responsibilities for looked after and care-experienced children and young people. Corporate parenting responsibilities extend to all looked after children throughout their care and aftercare journey. This includes children and young people with experience of residential, foster, secure or kinship care, those who are looked after at home with social work involvement, or care leavers who are eligible for aftercare services. The responsibilities can continue to apply until the care leaver reaches their 26th birthday. East Lothian Council is currently a Corporate Parent to 244 children and young people across the county.
The Draft East Lothian Corporate Parenting Plan 2021-2023 was produced in partnership with the East Lothian Champions Board, a group of care experienced young people who work together to share their experiences of care and what improvements need to be made to make the care system better for everyone. The Champions Board wanted a plan that was easy to understand and has clear improvement actions that will be implemented. They also identified six ‘Priorities for Change’ which are reflected in the Plan’s themes:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Keeping Loved Ones Together
- Education and Training
- Housing and Accommodation
- Rights and Participation
Each theme has an aspiration for the council and its partners, along with actions that outline how this will be achieved. Timescales and measures for success are included.
The Draft Plan has been posted to the Council’s Consultation Hub to make it quick and easy to read and respond. Questions focus on the suitability of the themes and aspirations, and invite further feedback. The consultation will remain open until 31 July 2021 and the feedback will be gathered and reported to a full meeting of East Lothian Council in Autumn 2021.
Cabinet member for Education and Children’s Services Councillor Fiona Dugdale said: “We know that whilst many children and young people who have experience of care go on to have positive outcomes, we also know that across Scotland, some go on to have poorer outcomes than their peers.
“We want to make sure that all of our children and young people are encouraged and supported to succeed. It’s our duty as corporate parents and it’s also our moral duty. These are our children and young people and we need to do all that we can to help them succeed in their lives. They are valued and have enormous potential. It’s important that we address issues around mental health, educational attainment, family support and housing to provide them with stability and opportunities that many others take for granted.
“We consulted widely in the shaping of this Draft Plan and now want to make sure that we invite people to respond to it, reflect on the progress in its development, and consider our aspirations and actions.
“I’d like to thank the East Lothian Champions Board for all they do in representing the voices of care experienced children and young people and in ensuring that we understand the impacts. This Draft Plan is possible because of the work that they do – often sharing difficult experiences to help others and shape improvements.”