Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
I am pleased to announce today the wider public launch of the Corporate Parenting Charter – “A promise from Wales”.
Our Programme for Government, reinforced by the Children and Young People Plan, sets out our ambitious vision for transforming children’s services in Wales.
We want to ensure that care experienced children and young people have the same life chances as every other child or young person in Wales. Their rights must be equally respected, and their voice heard, listened to and reflected in action. This was a key message to emerge from the Care Leavers Summit, held in December last year.
In collaboration with the Young Ambassadors who attended the Summit, representing care experienced children and young people, we have developed a radical, ambitious and shared vision for the future. The vision is captured in a joint Declaration that the First Minister, on behalf of the Welsh Government, signed on the 10th May. To support our shared ambitions, our Programme for Government was clear that we must strengthen public bodies in their role as ‘corporate parent’.
The term “corporate parenting” can be defined as promoting the collective responsibility of the whole public sector to safeguard and promote the rights and life chances of care-experienced children and young people. This is a responsibility of everyone working in the public sector.
A Corporate Parenting Implementation Group, comprising local authorities, as well as Voices from Care Cymru, the Children’s Commissioner’s office, the National Youth Advocacy Service, Children in Wales, National Adoption Service, and Public Health Wales was established in 2019. I would like to thank members of the Group for their hard work in developing the Charter.
The Charter, sets out 11 principles on equality, eradicating stigma, working together, inclusive support, fulfilling ambitions, nurturing, good health, a stable home, education, thriving in the future, after care support. It encourages all public sector bodies to sign up to these principles as well as 9 promises that set out how care experienced children and young people will be treated, listened to, and involved in decisions that affect them.
These principles and promises align to the key themes of our Children and Young People Plan, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). They also reflect the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked After and Accommodated Children).
The Charter has been published initially on a voluntary basis. We will monitor engagement and consider the development of guidance to support implementation of the Charter as well as including a dedicated chapter on Corporate Parenting within the Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked after and accommodated children) under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The draft chapter will be subject to public consultation this winter.
I like to conclude by saying that this Charter is not exclusive to public sector bodies, and I would encourage any members of the third sector and private sector to join with us and sign up and become a “Corporate Parent”. Welsh Ministers and Welsh Government have signed the Charter through the First Minister and Permanent Secretary today and I would ask others to join and work with us to ensure that all care-experienced children and young people have the same opportunities and life chances that every young person deserves.