During National Care Experience Week find out more about the Council as Corporate Parent
A qualified social worker, Lisa joined East Lothian Council in September 2008 as Involvement Officer for children and young people. She worked across education and social work to develop processes that would involve children and young people in planning at both a personal and strategic level.
Lisa has always been hugely committed to ensuring that children, young people and their families are supported to have their views heard, listened to and acted upon. “My approach to practice has always been ‘planning with, not for’ or ‘Nothing about us without us’,” she explains. “I have been very fortunate to be able to keep this person centred approach at the heart of my work.”
Her current role East Lothian Council is broad and varied. As a service development and practice officer within Children’s social work, she has worked partnership with all council departments, NHS Lothian and the third sector. She’s been involved in many important areas including young carer identification and support, Family Led Information Point, Get Connected East Lothian and support to young people and families experiencing financial hardship. She also worked with WhoCares? Scotland to create an Ambition Fund, a registered charitable fund which council staff can pay into and the money awarded to support care experienced young people with things to take their next steps in life, such as driving lessons.
I have seen so many young people who have experienced adversity and trauma in their lives go on and become amazing successful adultsLisa Shine, Involvement Officer
However her proudest achievement has been setting up the East Lothian Champions Board. The Board provides a platform for young people with care experience to have a voice and influence changes that need to happen to services so that all care experienced young people can have the best outcomes in life. “The Champs Board has employed five care experienced young people to work with the board and I have seen how these young people have grown and developed over their time and go on and do amazing things like promoted posts and university,” she says.
The Champs Board was central to the development of the Council’s Corporate Parenting Plan for 2021-2023. A corporate parent is an organisation or individual who has special responsibilities for looked after children and care-experienced young people. Corporate parenting responsibilities’ extend to all looked after children, aged from birth to when they cease to be looked after. This includes children and young people in residential, foster, kinship and secure care, those who are looked after at home with social work involvement, or care leavers who were looked after on their 16th birthday.
The Plan outlines how the council will help these children and young people to succeed and thrive and Lisa believes it’s essential that all council employees understand their commitments as corporate parents. “We have a role to play in ensuring these children and young people have all the support they need to thrive and overcome any challenges they face in their lives up to the age of 26.
“The champions have seven priorities for change and I believe we all, as Corporate Parents, have a role to play in making these changes happen. The Champs Board provides us with amazing evidence of where people with lived experience of care can influence change and make services better for others. I am so fortunate to have been part of this journey with the champions and have seen so many young people who have experienced adversity and trauma in their lives go on and become amazing successful adults,” she says.
Lisa will shortly be moving to the Care Inspectorate on a secondment as Workstream lead for the Promise. The Promise Scotland is responsible for driving the work of change demanded by the findings of the Independent Care Review. It works with all kinds of organisations to support shifts in policy, practice and culture so Scotland can #KeepThePromise. The secondment will give her the opportunity to further develop her skills and help lead this nationally-important work. “My role will be varied and involve leading on the development a participation strategy which will underpin and guide the way the care inspectorate listens to and involve children and young people in its our scrutiny and improvement activities. It’s an 18 month secondment so I’ll be back to hopefully share my learning and experience,” she says.
“I have enjoyed all my years working in East Lothian. I think it’s the commitment and hard work from all my colleagues across the council has made such a difference to the lives of children and young people. Our next challenge is keeping up with the pace of change and challenge that the Promise Change Plan presents to us,” she concludes.