Statutory guidance on Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Guidance issued by Scottish Ministers under section 63 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to provide corporate parents with information and advice.

Definition of Terms

Looked After Child

13. The definition of a 'looked after child' is set out in section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 ("the 1995 Act"), as amended by the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 ("the 2007 Act") and Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 ("the 2011 Act"). A child is 'looked after' by a local authority when he or she is:

  • provided with accommodation by a local authority under section 25 of 1995 Act; or
  • subject to a compulsory supervision order or an interim compulsory supervision order made by a children's hearing in respect of whom the local authority are the implementation authority (within the meaning of the 2011 Act); or
  • living in Scotland and subject to an order in respect of whom a Scottish local authority has responsibilities, as a result of a transfer of an order under regulations made under section 33 of the 1995 Act or section 190 of the 2011 Act; or.
  • subject to a Permanence Order made after an application by the local authority under section 80 of the 2007 Act.

14. To assist in the provision of their care some children and young people with physical and/or mental/learning disabilities are 'looked after' by local authorities (often under a 'section 25' arrangement). These children and young people are legally 'looked after', and so covered by the duties set out in Part 9 of the Act.

15. A child who has been adopted, or a child who is secured in a placement with friends or relatives by means of a Kinship Care Order (section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995), is not 'looked after' by a local authority. However, in both cases a child may still become 'looked after'. Where this occurs, the child is covered by Part 9 (and other Parts of the Act relating to 'looked after children').

16. The legal route by which a child became looked after has no relevance to their entitlement for corporate parenting support. If a child is 'looked after', by any of the means set out above, the duties set out in Part 9 apply.

17. In this guidance the terms 'looked after child' and 'looked after children' refer to any individual falling into the definition provided above. It is acknowledged that some young people prefer the term 'looked after children and young people', but for ease of reading this guidance uses 'looked after child' or 'looked after children' to cover children and young people of all ages, from birth through to adulthood.

Care leavers

18. The definition of a care leaver is set out in section 29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, as amended by section 66 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

19. From 1 April 2015 a young person will become a 'care leaver' if they cease to be 'looked after' on, or at any time after, their sixteenth birthday.

20. Please note that young people who became care leavers under the previous definition of a 'care leaver' will continue to be considered care leavers after April 2015. This means that a young person who became a care leaver under the previous definition will still be covered by the duties set out in Part 9 (corporate parenting) and eligible to the extended aftercare support provided through Part 10 (aftercare) of the Act. The previous definition of a care leaver was a young person who ceased to be looked after on or beyond their minimum school leaving age.

Corporate Parent

21. The definition of a 'corporate parent' is provided by section 56 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. An organisation or individual is a corporate parent if they are "listed, or within a description listed, in schedule 4" of the Act.

Corporate Parenting

22. For the purposes of this guidance the term corporate parenting is defined as:

"An organisation's performance of actions necessary to uphold the rights and safeguard the wellbeing of a looked after child or care leaver, and through which physical, emotional, spiritual, social and educational development is promoted." [5]

23. The necessary actions are set out in section 58 of the Act (corporate parenting responsibilities).


24. An individual's 'needs' will be unique, identified through the process of assessment. For details about how 'needs' should be identified please refer to the guidance on 'Assessing the needs of children and young people for services and support' and 'Assessing wellbeing' below.)


25. The term "interests" is not defined in the Act, so for the purposes of this guidance it should be interpreted as being "advantage or benefit"'. Therefore the duty to "promote the interests" (section 58(1c)) relates to actions which may advantage or benefit looked after children and care leavers.

Wellbeing (as described in section 96 of the Act)

26. Section 96(2) of the Act describes the term wellbeing in terms of eight indicators. A person assessing a child or young person's wellbeing is to consider the extent to which the child or young person is:

  • Safe: protected from abuse, neglect or harm.
  • Healthy: having the best possible standards of physical and mental health, supported to make healthy and safe choices.
  • Achieving: accomplishing goals and boosting skills, confidence and self-esteem.
  • Nurtured: having a nurturing and stimulating place to live and grow.
  • Active: having opportunities to take part in activities.
  • Respected: being given a voice, being listened to, and being involved in the decisions which affect their wellbeing.
  • Responsible: taking an active role within their home, school and community
  • Included: being a full member of the communities in which they live and learn, receiving help and guidance to overcome inequalities.

27. These eight wellbeing indicators are sometimes known collectively by the acronym ' SHANARRI'. While each indicator is separately defined, in practice they are connected and overlapping. Taken together the eight indicators offer a holistic view of each child or young person, identifying strengths as well as barriers to growth and development.

28. In respect to wellbeing, the term 'promoted' means 'actively encouraged or further developed'. The term 'safeguarded' means 'protected from harm or damage'. The term 'affected' means 'influenced, changed'


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