I’m proud to be building a National Model for Children in Care and Care Leavers with Local Authorities, Local People and Local Businesses . We all have a part to play because it is our community.
I’ve been using my personal experiences of the care system to influence policy makers and Local Authorities to work together for better outcomes because we have such a huge opportunity right now!
The Children and Social Care Act 2017 puts new corporate parenting responsibilities on 201 District Councils across England. These councils do not have any experience because it is normally the County Council in those areas that provide children’s services.
Creating the Local Offer for Care Leavers and embedding into the culture
In Nottinghamshire we have had over 300 people working on the local Care Leaver Offer and this has significantly increased awareness around the issues and barriers faced by looked after children and care leavers.
The process that we are proposing here is designed to embed a positive culture within your organisations of looked after children and care leavers. But the success will depend on the extent to which Local Authority Chief Executives, Councillors, heads of service and front line managers, businesses and the local community get behind this.
Rather than copy the offer from Nottinghamshire or any other authority, the process of creating it is what really matters because the awareness that gets built as a result creates a more sustainable model. And the personal development and teaching that district council staff get from the process have been invaluable
I’m aiming to create a coalition of 27 County Council Children’s Services Departments and together we will influence national policy once we have a pathway plan that is proven to work. But first we need to prove that we can make a difference together by dramatically changing the landscape and outcomes for our children in care. The suffering those in care and those with care experience has led to this point so it is now a call to action.
The National and Community context of the Local Offer for Care Leavers
The local authorities are corporate parents but the community have a duty too. So I have been campaigning to create Joined up Local Care Leaver Offers across England because we need to be thinking bigger and bolder. Our children should not have a different offer because they crossed a county or district line.
At the last moment the lower tier councils were included (Districts) which meant they also have to create an offer for care leavers, however I’ve come across a lot of councils that don’t know about this duty or that don’t even know what a care leaver is. They are now coming at this with fresh eyes and from a completely different perspective and therefore there is a huge opportunity to make a huge difference.
Right across England there are 27 Upper Tier County Councils that are responsible for 80% of the public services in their area, but the lower tier are responsible for things like housing and leisure which is critical if all the criterion within the local Care Leaver Offer are going to come together?
Responsibilities of Councils
|Unitaries||County Councils||District Councils|
|Leisure and Recreation||✓||✓|
|Local tax collection||✓||✓|
My campaign is to create joined up offers between the upper and lower tiers in each area and we have just completed the first in Nottinghamshire who now have an offer that all 7 districts are currently signing off.
We have 1 County Council and 7 Districts so far. I’m targeting 201 District Councils in 27 County Council areas and have already met with the Chief Executives of the 8 Councils in Derbyshire and have planned meetings in Leicestershire.
I have a vision of creating better pathways that include the whole community. My mission is to create a guaranteed job opportunity for every care leaver across England through a central government fund to top up the apprentice or entry level wage to a living wage, supported by extra funding for Personal Advisors and Job Coaches who are critical for our care leavers.
There are over 1m jobs in local government in England and local authorities that I’ve been working with have already started targeting care leavers by offering them jobs and apprenticeships, however the wider community will also play a big part in this and therefore I am setting out the importance of preparing children in care so that they are more prepared and better suited for jobs when compared with non-care experienced.
There is evidence that preparing children better, through a bespoke work ready and values programme starting at age 14 which includes mentoring from university students, business leaders and local government workers will make these children more employable.
It is essential to demonstrate to the business community a business case. Employers need work ready employees that they can retain. Creating sustainable models for our children in care will enable them to leave care more prepared, better equipped and loyal, therefore offering a cost saving to businesses and therefore a business case.
I’m pooling the experiences of me and my family and others to create a better way for young people to transition out of care.
Applying corporate parenting principles to looked-after children and care leavers