These are our bairns: a guide for community planning partnerships on being a good corporate parent

Guidance for councils and their community planning partners on how to improve outcomes for looked after children and young people, and care leavers.



Getting It Right For Every Child relates to a broad spectrum of agencies providing services to children and their families and a shared set of values and principles is essential to making it work. The values summarised below are intended to support reflection and self-challenge for any professional with a part to play in promoting the well-being of children.

  • WELL-BEING: GIRFEC is about the well-being of individual children and the overall goal of the policy and any related activity is to ensure that every child is: safe, healthy, active, nurtured, achieving, respected, responsible and included.
  • SAFETY: Recognise each child's right to be safe. Being safe and feeling emotionally as well as physically safe is fundamental to all aspects of healthy development and all other indicators of well-being. Ensuring safety goes beyond child protection activity, and relates also to security, stability and appropriate self-care.
  • CHILD AT THE CENTRE: The experience and needs of each child are central to any assessment, plan or intervention. Their views should be considered. The experience of those too young to articulate their views is equally significant, and they may need advocacy support. Listen to children and involve them in decisions about their lives in ways and at a pace which suits the child, their age, stage and circumstances.
  • HOLISTIC APPROACH AND EARLY INTERVENTION: Whatever your professional specialism, consider the whole child. Although your involvement with a child may be short-term, consider the child's needs for longer term support.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY AND INFORMATION SHARING: Respect the right to confidentiality of children, and of families, while recognising that the duty to safeguard children comes first. If concerned about risk to a child, be alert to the implications for other, perhaps equally vulnerable, children in the situation. If there are grounds for sharing information without consent in order to protect a child, then that which is shared should be relevant and proportionate.
  • PROMOTING OPPORTUNITIES AND VALUING DIVERSITY: Actively promote opportunities for children who face discrimination and extra barriers. Respond positively and creatively to diverse potentials and perspectives among children and families, and also amongst colleagues.
  • PARTNERSHIP WITH FAMILIES: Recognise how parents, family members and those in the child's network, are (or may become) the most significant contributors to meeting a child's needs in most situations. In many circumstances they can lead the plan of action. Listen to those who know the child well, have a sharp sense of what the child needs, of what works well for the child in his/her family and of what may not be helpful.
  • BUILDING ON STRENGTHS: Work to engage the strengths and resources within the family network in plans to address needs and risks (as far as this is safe, achievable, and in the child's interests).
  • BRINGING HELP TO THE CHILD: If you can play a part in a plan of help, consider how help can be brought to the child rather than automatically passing on information and responsibility.
  • SUPPORTING INFORMED CHOICE: Support children and families in understanding what help is possible and what their choices may be.
  • BRINGING HELP TOGETHER: Play your part in ensuring that children and families experience a co-ordinated, and unified approach when several professionals are involved. Try to ensure that families are not subjected to stressful repetition of information, avoidable delay or to assessments without a plan of action to help.
  • TEAMWORK BETWEEN PROFESSIONALS AND AGENCIES: Respect the contribution and expertise of other professionals; and co-operate with them to meet the needs of children, as far as may be appropriate for your role and context. For example, this may be through consultation, sharing information, shared assessment, planning, action or material support.
  • PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES AND STANDARDS: Recognise that sharing responsibility between agencies does not mean acting beyond our competence or responsibilities. Take action if safety or standards are compromised.
  • INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT: Commit to professional learning and development. Commit to improvement upon inter-professional practice in work with children and families.
  • VALUES ACROSS ALL WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: Be sensitive to the impact of your work on other professionals. Beside the well-being of children and families, consider the well-being of colleagues and value their support. Recognise that respect, patience, honesty, reliability, resilience and integrity are qualities valued by children, families and colleagues.



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