7) Building Momentum for Going Forward - What next for Corporate Parents?
This Report has used a relatively small number of illustrative examples to describe the different approaches taken over the past three years by our diverse community of Corporate Parents to meet the corporate parenting responsibilities and duties. Each unique organisation has created their individual Plan of measurable activities and outcomes to evidence their commitment as Corporate Parents to uphold the rights and secure the wellbeing of their looked after children and care leavers.
There is no doubt that the 2014 Act has taken the concept of evidence-based improvements in support for care experienced children and young people to another level. This is why corporate parenting is ambitious and challenging but this is also why each individual and organisation has something distinctive to offer as part of the wider landscape.
Corporate parenting Plans and updates show that, in keeping with the legislation, each organisation has taken a unique approach over the past three years. This is illustrated to an extent in Appendix A which summarises the journey of a single representative Corporate Parent from each of the nine categories from 2015 to 2018 and looking forward to 2021.
Feedback from care experienced children and young people has been clear; they want their views to be heard and acted upon. There are no excuses for not taking this on board today, tomorrow and forever. Our children and young people understand corporate parenting responsibilities and, where the opportunities exist, share their experiences with confidence in order to identify barriers and seek solutions.
"We set the agenda to meet with our corporate parents and so far have explored the theme of health and wellbeing. Our next Champions Board meeting will be talking about Housing. It feels good to be listened to and that we can make changes for the better" 18-year-old member of East Renfrewshire Champions Board
This is echoed by Corporate Parents from all parts of Scotland throughout the different parts of our public sector who recognise the importance of this in principle and in practice. The Report therefore notes the outstanding success of Champions Boards and other similar approaches as a forum for our children and young people to have direct, meaningful involvement in all levels of decision making.
Collectively these amount to an honest account of challenges and steps taken to overcome them. Almost all areas of progress have evidenced and benefitted from good partnership with other Corporate Parents.
As Corporate Parents, we have had three years to digest the duties and responsibilities and reflect on where our role already supports corporate parenting and where we can create opportunities to do more. We can already see themes in what works and where there are gaps. Ironically, they are practically the same. Over coming months and throughout the next three year reporting period the evidence clearly points to a focus on:
- seeking the views of looked after children and young people and care leavers,
- assessing their needs and how you can address these,
- collaborating with other Corporate Parents to share learning and reach a wider care experienced population, and
- securing support and understanding at senior levels of each organisation.
With this in mind, it seems appropriate that the final words in the Report belong to Perth and Kinross Fun Young Individuals who, in describing their experience of working with corporate parents, have more or less captured the essence of feedback from many of our looked after children and young people. These opportunities must not be missed.
"As Fun Young Individuals ( FYI) we describe ourselves as a ' family' we look out for each other in many different situations. FYI has helped many of us to become more knowledgeable, this is down to meeting up with different professionals and inviting different professional to our Monday meetings. Meeting every Monday and getting to know our corporate parents have increased our opportunities, many members of the group have been involved in different meetings which have led to important decisions being made, this has made the group feel like they are being listened to and they would like this to continue in the future. The group feel it is important to communicate and feedback to professionals about what we thinks important whilst also getting feedback about meetings we don't attend so we are kept in the loop. Ultimately FYI feel like group Monday meetings have had a real positive impact on many of their personal life's and would like the group to continue with the same purpose which is to help other young people to feel they can be as open as we are and to feel part of the family!!" Members of Perth & Kinross Fun Young Individuals
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