Harrow Council, England, become the first signatories of a brand new charter aimed at removing stigma and automatic pre-birth assessments of Care Experienced Parents from the Social Care System.
Background to the charter
The charter builds on previous research led by Dr Louise Roberts. Her book, summarising the five-year study, entitled, ‘The Children of Looked After Children: Outcomes, Experiences and Ensuring Meaningful Support to Young Parents In and Leaving Care’, was published in March 2021 and is free to download.
The catalyst for the research, was young people and professionals connected to Voices from Care Cymru. Concerns were raised about responses to, and the support available for, young people in and leaving care who were expecting a child or parenting. The ensuing study found evidence to support such concerns; highlighting the potential for stigma and discrimination, showing concerning levels of statutory intervention and separation, as well as variable and under-developed support services. The study concluded that urgent policy and practice attention was needed at national, local and individual levels to improve corporate parent support responses to parents in and leaving care.
The subsequent charter was intended to secure meaningful change for parents in and leaving the care system. The charter was co-produced with care-experienced parents with the support of leading third sector organisations in Wales; Voices from Care Cymru, NYAS Cymru and TGP Cymru. In addition, its development was supported by Terry Galloway and through consultations with statutory and third sector professionals.
Further details about this work and a range of supporting resources are available via: Supporting Parents in and Leaving Care: #MessagestoCorporateParents
Terry Galloway, Care Leaver Local Offer said
“This charter helps sow the seeds for better relationships. It is designed to get rid of the stigma and remove automatic pre-birth assessments of our care experienced parents. Only then can our most vulnerable feel safe asking for help and only then will better relationships be formed where healing can begin.
“It is important that I champion this charter because so many young care experienced parents feel isolated and afraid of asking for help. The stigma of being from care is too great, they feel judged and as a result don’t ask for help when they most need it.”
Dr Louise Roberts – CASCADE, Cardiff University said
“We are thrilled to be working with Terry Galloway and are excited to see the charter feature on the Care Leaver Local Offer website. The charter is very much a joint effort and was co-produced with care-experienced parents. It is intended to provide a framework for strengthening corporate parenting support. We believe commitment to this charter will make a meaningful difference to young people’s lives and help ensure access to the support they need and deserve. We are delighted that Harrow are the first council to sign up and hope many more will follow.”
Learn more about the project and about our Resources
The charter commitments seek to counter the disadvantage faced by care-experienced young people and ask for no more than what would typically be available to young people with birth family support. Signatories to the charter will be showing their support to ensure meaningful change in how young people are prepared for parenthood, how they are seen and responded to as parents, as well as the ways in which they are supported by their corporate parents.
Care Leaver Local Offer have written to Every Council in England, Wales, Scotland and NI to ask that they sign up to this Charter in Care Leavers Week 2021.
Terry Galloway, Care Leaver Local Offer
Dr Louise Roberts, CASCADE