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Helping NHS staff support vulnerable young people

New learning resource on ‘Corporate Parenting’


A new training resource for NHS staff aims to help them understand their duties to promote the interests of ‘care-experienced’ young people, as part of their legal ‘corporate parenting’ responsibilities.

Developed in partnership by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and charity Who Cares? Scotland, the resource:

• Describes the legal duties of corporate parenting for young people up to the age of 26
• Identifies negative effects that ‘care experience’ can have on wellbeing
• Encourages staff to think about opportunities where they could further promote the interests of care-experienced young people.

Judy Thomson, Director of Psychology, and the NES Corporate Parenting Lead, said:

“Young people who are or have been in care often don’t have access to the parental support most other young people have. That’s why the Scottish Government has tasked all public bodies to act as a ‘Corporate Parent’, which is about making sure that this group of young people have the same life chances as everyone else. It’s about doing the things that parents would. Paying attention, appreciating when they need extra support and removing the barriers that can get in the way of them achieving their full potential.

“At NES, we’ve developed a learning resource for all NHSScotland staff so that they understand the impact of being in care and what NHS services can do to help. We’re working with ‘Who Cares? Scotland’ to understand what’s needed and we’re helping to make sure this group of young people are better able to access and thrive in jobs and careers in NHSScotland.

Chloe Dobson, Training and Education Manager at Who Cares? Scotland said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer all NHSScotland staff the opportunity to engage in this bespoke Corporate Parenting e-learning module, which has been developed in collaboration between NES and Who Cares? Scotland. As the national advocacy agency for the care experienced population, Who Cares? Scotland holds a unique position and we ensure the voice of those who experience care is at the heart of everything we do. We have ensured their voice is heard in this e-learning module.

“As you will see within the module, the outcomes for the care population in Scotland are poor and we know we can do better. By engaging NHSScotland staff in this e-learning module we believe the context a care experienced person grows and develops within will be better understood, and as a result, will enable all staff to become better Corporate Parents.

“We thank you in advance for your commitment towards all those who experience care. These are our children and young people, and they deserve a lifetime of equality, respect and love.”

What is corporate parenting?
Corporate parents have responsibilities for the wellbeing of care-experienced young people. This group includes all children and young people up to the age of 26 who are or have been in residential care, in foster care, in kinship care or looked after at home with social work involvement.

Corporate parents are intended to carry out many of the roles that parents should.
Under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the NHS must:

• Be alert to matters which adversely affect the wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers
• Assess the needs of those children and young people for the services and support we provide
• Promote the interests of those children and young people
• Provide opportunities for those looked after children and young people to participate in activities designed to promote their wellbeing
• Take action appropriate to help those children and young people access such opportunities and make use of the services and support provided
• Take any other action we consider appropriate to improve our functions to meet the needs of those children and young people

The resource is available on the Turas digital platform . 

Reference: PR2018-026

Corporate Parenting Resource