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Corporate Parenting

Collective responsibility of local authorities actively promoting the life chances of children in care and care leavers.

Corporate Parenting is the term used to recognise the collective responsibility of local authorities actively to promote the life chances of children in care and care leavers as if they were my child and provide them with the best possible care and protection.

Effective corporate parenting needs a commitment from all council employees and elected members to demonstrate that 'looked after' children should be cared about, not just cared for.

The role of Suffolk County Council

Children and young people are in care either by a Court Order or with the agreement of the child’s parent or guardian. All these children are ‘looked after’ by the local authority but levels of responsibility for them differ.

For those with a Court Order the council has, or shares, parental responsibility, while for those in care at the request of their parent the authority provides care and accommodation but does not have parental responsibility. 

Suffolk has approximately 900 looked after children aged 0 to 17 in their care at any one time.

Suffolk also has a responsibility for approximately 550 young adults aged 18 to 21 years, or 24 if they are in higher education who were in the care of the local authority and are entitled to support services to enable them to make a successful transition to adulthood.

Corporate parenting strategy

Improving life outcomes for children in care (CiC) and care leavers is a clear priority in Suffolk. The Corporate Parenting Board has lead responsibility for ensuring that Suffolk is fully meeting its corporate parenting duties to children and young people in care and care leavers. 

The Suffolk Strategy for Care Leavers 2020-2023 provides the foundation of our aspiration for young people leaving care.

The Leaving Care Strategy update (PDF, 592KB) provides an update on progress of the strategy action plan as at September 2021.

Suffolk Sufficiency Strategy for Children in Care and Care Leavers 2022 to 2026 (doc, 5MB) sets out how we will do this, whilst ensuring there are sufficient placements for children. An important element of planning sufficient accommodation is to take early, preventative action to support children and families so that fewer children come into care.

This document describes:

  • Our Sufficiency progress since the 2022 to 2026 strategy
  • The views of children and young people
  • Current supply and demand
  • Future risk factors
  • Summary Needs Analysis
  • Our priorities and recommendations for action
  • Commissioning intentions to meet sufficiency

The document outlines 8 priority action areas

  • Priority 1: Prevention and early intervention
  • Priority 2: Disabled children
  • Priority 3: Residential care
  • Priority 4: Fostering and adoption
  • Priority 5: Child exploitation
  • Priority 6: Education
  • Priority 7: Inequalities and deprivation
  • Priority 8: Mental health and prevention of tier 4

We have undertaken an Annual Suffolk Sufficiency Refresh 2024-2025. This reflects post covid need, new legislation and policy since the initial work on our Sufficiency Strategy. This Refresh does not replace our Sufficiency Strategy but should be read alongside it. New priority activity coming out of the Refresh is:

  • Support children to live at home
  • Grow residential provision
  • Collaborate to manage placement risk
  • Implement Foster Care Strategy
  • Plan for supported accommodation regulations