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Corporate parenting means that when a child is being looked after by children’s services, the local authority has a duty to provide the kind of care and support that would be expected of any responsible parent.
This goes beyond simply keeping the child safe. It means wanting the best for the child or young person. It means doing whatever it takes to make sure they have every chance to reach their potential.
Government guidance says:
‘The role of the corporate parent is to act as the best possible parent for each child they look after and to advocate on his/her behalf to secure the best possible outcomes … As corporate parents, each local authority must act for the children they look after as a responsible and conscientious parent would act.’
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduced seven ‘corporate parenting principles’. These are intended to strengthen and underpin children’s services existing responsibilities.
In carrying out their duties and functions in relation to looked after children and care leavers, local authorities should:
- Act in the children and young people’s best interests and promote their physical and mental health and well-being
- Encourage them to express their views, wishes and feelings
- Take their views, wishes and feelings into account
- Help them gain access to, and make best use of, services provided by the local authority and its partners
- Encourage them to have high aspirations and try to secure the best outcomes for them
- Make sure they are safe and have stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work
- Prepare them for adulthood and independent living.