Councillors to champion support for children in care
Friday 30 October 2020
Milton Keynes Councillors are getting more closely involved in how the council supports children in care or leaving care.
Milton Keynes Council is a legal ‘corporate parent’ to 400 children and young people whose challenging home circumstances mean they need formal support from the authorities.
While there are networks in place to help children have a voice in how their care is provided, the council’s new Champions Model will connect councillors with the children and young people themselves to drill deeper into different aspects in their lives, such as health, education and support for people leaving care. From this, the champion’s will be in an even stronger position to work with council teams to make practical changes and improve children’s lives.
The Council’s Corporate Parenting Panel agreed the approach earlier this month. Fifteen champions will meet with children and young people on a regular basis to hear their views and understand their needs. A steering group will monitor how well the new approach is working.
Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Children in care deserve the same opportunities as any other children and we want them all to reach their full potential. Through this new approach, councillors will be able to lead on several key aspects of our role as corporate parents, such as education and housing. We will do everything we can to ensure that no young people are left behind.”
Cllr Marie Bradburn, Chair of the Corporate Parenting Panel, said: “Councillors need to understand their critical role as corporate parents. They need to provide the best possible care for around 400 children that are currently in the care of Milton Keynes Council, just as they would their own children.”
The Corporate Parenting Panel welcomes hearing the views and experience of young people as part of its work. In September 2019, Keren Kassanda - the first Care Leaver in MK to reach Oxford University - joined the Panel as an expert voice.
This week is National Care Leavers Week and the council has been running a range of online webinars and events with support from local partners TransitionsUK and Grandmentors.