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New strategy to ensure children in care and care leavers are supported to achieve their aspirations

General / Tue 25th Oct 2022 am31 08:13am

A NEW strategy setting out Essex County Council’s (ECC) continued commitment to support children in care and care leavers has been officially launched.

When a child enters the care of Essex County Council, the responsibility that would normally belong to a parent becomes the legal and moral responsibility of everyone at the council, effectively making all employees and Members Corporate Parents.

“Co-Parenting” is the new brand for ECC’s Corporate Parenting Strategy. Chosen by children themselves, it is less business-like and includes everyone who works together to care for our children and young people in and leaving care.

Our Co-Parenting Strategy 2022 to 2027, launched this week during National Care Leavers Week, sets out how ECC will provide these children and young people with the care and support they need to grow into happy, independent adults.

The voice and perspectives of children and young people are integral to the strategy, and members of ECC’s Children in Care Council (CiCC) helped develop it.

The five priorities set out in the strategy are:

  • Self: Celebrating individuality, championing diversity and inclusion and helping children and young people understand where they come from.
  • Health: Supporting emotional wellbeing, championing healthy lifestyles and keeping children and young people safe.
  • Home: Providing good, stable homes and ensuring children and young people feel cared for.
  • Learning: Helping children and young people learn, have high aspirations, grow as people and enjoy school, college, university and training.
  • Independence: Helping care leavers achieve independence as successful, happy adults who can feel confident in work and if they become parents themselves.

The strategy also includes defined Outcomes, a Mission and a new formal Co-Grandparent role, all of which have been developed through feedback from the CiCC. 

The Essex Pledge, a set of promises written by children and young people, was signed by Members outside a meeting on full council earlier this month.

Based on what children and young people in and leaving care have told us, the strategy also sets out what makes a good co-parent – ECC’s “10 Attributes of a Good Parent”. Everyone working with children and young people in and leaving care are encouraged to embody these attributes.

Cllr Beverley Egan, ECC Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years, said: “Our Co-Parenting Strategy is an extremely important document and I’m delighted to formally launch it at the start of National Care Leavers Week 2022.

“The strategy sets out our commitment to supporting children and young people in care and care leavers. Throughout its development we have listened to children and young people and the strategy is based on what really matters to them.   

“The strategy links in with our Everyone’s Essex Strategy and our Levelling Up agenda, which includes a commitment to improving outcomes for vulnerable children, including children in care and care leavers. As good Co-Parents, we and our partners should put children in care and care leavers at the heart of our Levelling Up agenda.

“Working together with our staff, Members and partners we can make a real difference to the lives of those living in care and care leavers, helping ensure they are happy, loved, safe and able to achieve their aspirations.”

Going forward, the Strategy’s Priorities, Outcomes and Actions will be developed into delivery plans with ECC’s partners.

To view ECC’s ‘Our Co-Parenting Strategy 2022 to 2027’, visit: https://www.essex.gov.uk/plans-and-strategies/our-co-parenting-strategy.

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