Somerset Corporate Parenting Board have unveiled a new strategy and pledge to Somerset’s Children Looked After, with the help of care experienced children and young people.
The new Corporate Parenting Strategy sets out Somerset County Council’s guidelines and aims as corporate parents, for how they will support young people in care to help them reach their true potential. Working with care experienced young people, a Pledge was also developed alongside the voices of children with lived experiences of being in care.
The Pledge outlines the Council’s promise and commitment to Somerset’s Children Looked After, with members of Somerset in Care Council (SiCC) and Somerset Leaving Care Council (SLCC), deciding on a symbolic tree design with branches for shelter and roots for stability.
Talking about the Pledge Tree and strategy, a member of SiCC said ‘The tree was unique. I enjoyed writing the strategy as I’m passionate about making change. It’s normal for me to do these things now.’
When a child enters the care of Somerset County Council, the responsibility and tasks that would normally belong to a parent, become the legal and moral responsibility of everyone at the Council, effectively making all Council employees Corporate Parents.
The Corporate Parenting Board monitors, challenges and influences the services Somerset Council and their partners deliver to Children Looked After, to continually improve outcomes and ensure that their needs are prioritised, just as a parent would for their own child.
Julian Wooster, Director of Children’s Services at Somerset County Council, said ‘The role of corporate parent will be one of the central responsibilities of the new councillors elected in May, so the timing of the policy is perfect. The policy will support and guide those councillors and place our responsibilities to young people at the heart of the new council. The voice of young people runs through this policy, taking in to account their views and lived experiences of being in care. It has helped us to create the right conditions to support enable them to live happy, safe and fulfilling lives’.
The new Corporate Parenting Strategy and Pledge can be found online at www.somerset.gov.uk/education-and-families/corporate-parenting/
You could make a difference to a local child in care as a Somerset Foster Carer. For more information on fostering visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 587 9900. Foster carers need to be aged 21 or over with a spare room in their home, and you could help change a child’s story.