A new Corporate Parenting Plan, setting out improvements for looked after and care experienced people, has been approved at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Cabinet.
A corporate parent is an organisation or individual who has special responsibilities for looked after children and care-experienced young people. This can include children and young people of all ages who are in residential care, foster care, kinship care, secure care, who are looked after at home with social work involvement and care leavers who were looked after on or after their 16th birthday.
Corporate parents have a legal duty to promote the interests of care experienced children and young people. They must seek to provide young people with opportunities to participate in activities which are designed to promote their wellbeing, and take any action considered appropriate to help them access these opportunities or make use of local services. Corporate parents also need to be alert to matters which might adversely affect wellbeing.
The new plan sets out key priorities for outcomes focused on improvements to:
- Health and wellbeing
- Keeping loved ones together
- Housing and accommodation
- Education and training
- Rights and participation
It outlines actions to achieve positive changes over the 2021-23 period, having been developed in partnership with the East Lothian Champions Board. The East Lothian Champions Board is a group of care experienced young people that come together to speak up about their experiences of care and what improvements need to be made to make the care system better for everyone. Engagement has also taken place with partner agencies in relation to realising the aspirations of the plan.
Councillor Fiona Dugdale, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services said:
“I’m delighted by the approach taken to developing the East Lothian Corporate Parenting Plan 2021-2023 plan in partnership with key strategic partners and with the East Lothian Champions Board. The Champions Board wanted a plan that is easy to understand and has clear improvement actions that will be implemented.
“We need a plan because, while care experienced children and young people can go on to achieve great things, they can often face real challenges which affect all areas of their lives.
“The plan recognises the importance of care experienced children and young people being able to access the appropriate wellbeing services when required.
“While it is an ambitious plan it is very much in keeping with The Promise – the result of the Independent Care Review which made recommendations to change the system for the better.
“East Lothian Council is firmly committed to doing everything possible to making the required change.
“The new Corporate Parenting Plan highlights that children and young people should remain in contact with family members they consider appropriate, particularly siblings, where it is safe and where it meets their needs.
“I support the aspiration to ensure all care experienced young people have appropriate accommodation, and welcome the statement that children and young people will be raised in families not affected by poverty.
“It’s really important that we now take forward the work to deliver on the various actions and I look forward to hearing of the progress in the months ahead.”
The report is available within the papers for the Cabinet meeting held on 14 September 2021.