Celebrating co-parenting month in Harlow

Lifestyle / Sun 29th Oct 2023 at 08:51am

THIS October, Essex County Council continues to celebrate its unique Co-Parenting Month which recognises the achievements, resilience and potential of children in care and care leavers across the county.

When a child enters care, the responsibility that would normally belong to a parent becomes the responsibility of everyone.

Last year, the council launched Our Co-Parenting Strategy 2022 to 2027. It was developed with input from children and young people through the Children in Care Council. Children and young people campaigned and successfully persuaded the council to stop using the term ‘corporate parenting’ when describing their care and instead use the term ‘co-parent’.

Its five priorities – self, health, home, learning and independence – help guide what makes a good Co-Parent in Essex. Essex is also driving forward the important concept of co-grandparenting, becoming co-grandparents to the babies and children of care leavers.

Councillor Beverley Egan, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years, said: “Being good Co-Parents and Co-Grandparents is an important part of our role as Essex County Council Members and, along with our staff, we’re committed to meeting the priorities set out in our Co-Parenting Strategy.

“Working together with our partners, it is our responsibility to improve the lives of those living in care and care leavers, helping ensure they are happy, loved, safe and able to achieve their aspirations. Our strategy shows our determination to do this.”

The council’s Children in Care Council has recently been recognised for its innovative contributions by being shortlisted for two important awards.

The Proud to be Me peer support group, which supports and celebrates the cultural identity of ethnically diverse children in care, is shortlisted for a Children and Young People Award in the Safeguarding Award category.

This is Us, a poetry book written by children in care and care leavers, has also been shortlisted for a Children and Young People Now Award. The book and its accompanying app were designed as an educational tool, promoting literacy and inspiring other children to engage with poetry as a means of self-expression and empathy.

Care Leavers’ Week (25 October to 1 November) falls during October, also Black History Month, and the council will use the national event to celebrate the achievements of all care leavers in Essex.

Councillor Egan added: “It’s important we take time to recognise our young people’s achievements, whilst also reaffirming our ongoing commitment to children in care and care leavers across Essex.

“Care Leavers Week and Essex Co-Parenting Month are great opportunities to do this and we will be marking them with young people in Essex as we do every year.”

The council has recently signed up to the Care Leaver Friendly Employer Charter. This is part of the Care Leaver Covenant, which recognises the council’s commitment to support care leavers aged 16-25 to help them live independently.

To be a Care Leaver Friendly Employer, the council must continue to adhere to three key principles – Recruitment, Tracking and Development. Find out more at: https://mycovenant.org.uk/opportunities/essex-county-council-interview-scheme/

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