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Young people in care help councillors understand their corporate parent role

Councillor Megan Swift
Councillor Megan Swift

Young people, some of whom have been in the council’s care, spoke to Calderdale councillors to help them better understand their role as corporate parents or grandparents.

Before September’s meeting of the full Calderdale Council the young people and Anne Tully, the council’s service manager for looked after children, made a special presentation to councillors outlining questions elected members could ask themselves to enhance the role they played to keep improving the lives of children and young people in the authority’s care.

They were urged to support a pledge to help young people who are looked after and care leavers by becoming more involved in care, for example pledging to commit a few hours each month to take part in regulatory visits to children’s homes, visiting children’s social care offices which was a three-monthly commitment, attending regular development sessions with young people and attending shadowing opportunities as part of the corporate parenting and safeguarding programme.

Welcomed by the Mayor of Calderdale, Coun Marcus Thompson (Con, Skircoat), Anne Tully said the council and councillors had a real commitment to corporate parenting and grandparenting.

“It takes a lot of hard work for all involved. We ensure the services we deliver are exactly the same as you would want your own children and grandchildren to have, no more, no less,” she said.

She hoped the presentation would help councillors ensure the diverse needs of children and young people the authority looked after were met, allowing all to reach their full potential.

The council was in the top 40 councils across the country for this type of care but were not as well placed where long-term foster placements were concerned, an issue Calderdale was addressing, she added.

Young people posed questions councillors could take away and think about, including how they could ensure children who were looked after were a priority across all the council’s directorates, how they could ensure young people were involved in decisions which affected them, how they could ensure children’s diverse needs were met, how as school governors they could ensure their school was meeting needs, how they could support young people’s career development and how they could ensure children and young people were being cared for properly.

The Mayor said he hoped councillors could make a difference and Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town), who is Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said the service and young people could be very proud of what they were achieving.

“As a council we are working to making life better for these young people and thank them for their report,” she said.