When you go into care your local authority becomes your ‘Corporate Parent’. This means that although the local authority is an organisation and not an actual person, it still has responsibility for helping you to grow up well and be happy, just like a parent should.
The responsibility of a 'corporate parent' for providing the best possible care and safeguarding for children and young people is a responsibility that is shared between the council and ALL of its employees and partner agencies (such as education services, health services and housing departments).
Corporate parenting is defined as:
“The responsibility of local authorities to improve outcomes and actively promote the life chances of children they look after is referred to as “corporate parenting” in recognition that the task must be shared by the whole authority in partnership with partner agencies.
The role of corporate parent is to act as the best parents for each child they look after and to take action by speaking out on their behalf, arranging for appropriate services to meet their needs, standing up for them and representing them as needed to ensure they grow up in the best possible way.” (The Children Act 1989)
The attitude of a good corporate parent is one that has the best interests of all children at the forefront of their actions and decision making.
The law provides guidance to corporate parents and states that,
“In order to thrive, children and young people have certain key needs that good parents generally meet. The corporate parenting principles set out seven principles that local authorities must have regard to when exercising their functions in relation to children looked after and young people". These are:
To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and well-being, of those children and young people
To encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings
To take into account the views, wishes and feelings of those children and young people
To help those children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners
To promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for those children and young people
For those children and young people to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work; and
To prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living
Corporate parents in each local authority work together and share responsibility for acting on behalf of the children and young people in their care.