1 What is corporate parenting?
When a child’s parents or family cannot, or do not, provide appropriate care for them, the local authority has a legal responsibility to consider whether they should assume care of the child. This can either be by agreement with those who hold parental responsibility or by the courts granting a Care Order. In these circumstances the local authority has a corporate parenting responsibility for the child.
In the UK we have approximately 62,000 looked after children, who are often referred to as 'children looked after’. They are cared for by the local authorities, either with foster carers or, occasionally, in residential homes.
In West Sussex we normally have between 600 and 650 looked after children, each of whom has an allocated social worker to design the individual care plans that will best meet their needs.
The Children Looked After and Care Leavers Strategy outlines how we intend to meet our responsibilities. As corporate parents our aim is to ensure our children are happy, healthy and safe and all our actions are subject to the scrutiny of The Children in Care Council and the Corporate Parenting Panel (CPP).
For further information on corporate parenting, and how, as a member of the local authority or one of its partners you can help fulfill your responsibility to help our children in care and care leavers, visit our corporate parenting campaigns page.
2 What the CPP does
The Corporate Parenting Panel aims to ensure that West Sussex County Council undertakes its duties as corporate parents for all children looked after and care leavers it is responsible for, so that young people can achieve their full potential and a successful transition into adulthood.
The Panel does this by ensuring the services provided for children and young people looked after by us are of good quality and meet their needs. It works with all elected members and officers within the County Council, colleagues from partner agencies and children and young people who are looked after.
Key elements of its role are to:
- act as advocates for children looked after and care leavers to the Leader of the County Council, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and other cabinet members as appropriate
- contribute to the development of the Children Looked After and Care Leavers Strategy and monitor progress against it
- endeavour to ensure that our ‘Pledge’ to children looked after and care leavers is delivered
- monitor the effectiveness of the Virtual School and its governing body in improving the educational attainment of children looked after and care leavers
- raise members’ awareness and understanding of children looked after and care leavers, their needs and experiences, and consider how all members can contribute to improving results
- to report to the County Council when appropriate and at least once a year.