25 June to 1 July 2012 marked the first ever Corporate Parenting Week. Looking after other people's children is one of the most important things that councils do and it is the responsibility of all elected members, not just the lead member for children's services and council officers.
Corporate Parenting Week is an opportunity to find out more about the role of a corporate parent and to share ideas and good practice across the country.
Outcomes for children and young people that are in, or have left, care remain stubbornly worse than for other children, as demonstrated by the statistics below.
Only seven per cent of young people that were in care aged 16 were in higher education at the age of 19, compared to 31.6 per cent of all young people.
Of the same group, 32 per cent were not in education, employment or training, compared with 22 per cent of all 19-year-olds.
Less than one per cent of children are looked after, yet up to half of children in youth offending institutions are, or were, in care.
Corporate parenting resources
Councillors are uniquely placed to make a real difference to the lives of children in care. The LGA has produced a resource pack for councils in advance of Corporate Parenting Week. This contains a range of ideas and examples of activity for the week, but also beyond.
Fostering and adoption case studies report
This report, commissioned by the LGA, shows a number of different ways that councils are addressing the challenges of improving outcomes for looked-after children and enhancing provision, while managing increased demand and budget cuts.
Children and young people's views and experiences of fostering and adoption services
Children and young people in care are well placed to say how services can be improved. Councils involve children and young people in their areas about local services, but to help provide an overarching perspective, the LGA commissioned NFER to carry out a review of the many existing reports from the past decade into children's views on fostering and adoption services. Find out what they thought by reading the report.
The experiences of fostering and adoption processes – on the NFER website.
Updated scrutiny guide for looked-after children
This guide aims to provide clearly and succinctly the key issues to cover in a scrutiny review of corporate parenting, as well as jargon-busting, links to further information and case studies. The question areas can also be used by corporate parenting groups or other elected members to support them in their ability to scrutinise and challenge the service provided by their council to looked after children.
Children who go missing from care
Two All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) published a report in June 2012 into children who go missing from care. It makes a series of recommendations for improving the system, which are currently being considered by the Government. You can read the report on the Children's Society website. The LGA issued an initial response and is now carrying out further work on this issue with the sector and other stakeholders.
APPG inquiry into children who go missing or run away from care – on the Children Society website.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of abuse. It involves children and young people being forced or manipulated into sexual activity in exchange for something – money, gifts or accommodation or less tangible goods such as affection or status. The sexual activity and exchange may be seen as consensual, but are based on an imbalance of power which severely limits victims' options. Child sexual exploitation does not only happen to looked-after children, but they are one of a number of vulnerable groups of young people. The Government's National Action Plan, published in 2011, outlines the expectation that all local authorities will want to assess the local prevalence of this abuse and develop appropriate responses.
Looked-after children and offending
Children in care are over-represented in the criminal justice system: less than one percent of children are looked after and yet up to half of children in youth offending institutions are, or were, in care. Out of Trouble is a Prison Reform Trust campaign which is working to reduce the number of children and young people who are imprisoned in the UK. They have produced some tips for councillors on this issue and good practice examples.
Tips for councillors on this issue and good practice examples – on the Prison Reform Trust website.
A range of other relevant materials and resources will be published on this page during the week.
If you have a good story to tell about corporate parenting in your area that you are willing to share, let us know by
2 July 2012