Corporate parenting (Care Orders)
When a child is looked after by a council under a Care Order, the council becomes a 'corporate parent' with legal and moral responsibility for that child.
While much of the day-to-day functioning of a council's corporate parenting responsibility is delegated to childcare professionals, including social workers, its elected members (councillors) all have an important role to play.
What responsibilities do councillors have?
As corporate parents, all councillors have a collective responsibility to ensure that looked after children and care leavers can have the outcomes every good parent would want for their children. This means ensuring they are safe and providing opportunities to help them achieve their potential. Corporate parents have responsibility for the child's education, training and employment, health, welfare, leisure, housing and cultural opportunities.
As corporate parents councillors should take into account the needs of those children who are looked after and the impact of any decisions that they and the council make. Councillors may have particular opportunities to do this through their committee or Cabinet roles, as part of the Scrutiny responsibilities or through work as a school governor. This can be done by asking questions about such things as:
- how safe looked after children are;
- how well the local authority looks after them;
- how well looked after children are doing educationally;
- how the health needs of looked after children are being met;
- what is being done to support looked after children when they leave care.
What is the role of the Corporate Parenting Forum?
Swansea's Corporate Parenting Forum is a group of councillors who have a lead role in promoting the role of corporate parenting within and outside the local authority and additional formal responsibilities relating to corporate parenting. It's members have an in-depth understanding of the issues that affect looked after children and will champion their rights. They review and monitor services and support for looked after children to ensure that outcomes are met and that there is a robust planning process.
Forum members have direct contact with the children and young people in order to understand their views and what matters most to them, and support events involving looked after children.