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 812 looked after children aged 0 to 17 in their care at any one time.
Suffolk also has a responsibility for approximately 416 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.
This Suffolk Strategy for Care Leavers 2020-2023 provides the foundation of our aspiration for young people leaving care.
Suffolk Sufficiency Strategy for Children in Care and Care Leavers 2018 to 2021 (PDF, 228KB) 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 2016
- 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: Early help and at risk of care
- Priority 2: Maintain recruitment of foster carers and adopters
- Priority 3: Ensure all children have access to a suitable education to meet their needs
- Priority 4: Supporting 18+ care leavers
- Priority 5: Therapeutic support to CiC and care leavers
- Priority 6: Children with special education needs and disabilities
- Priority 7: Achieving Permanence
- Priority 8: Complex adolescents facing extreme challenges