The ‘Education Champions‘ initiative in Denbighshire leads to direct involvement of senior officers in the support of looked after children. It raises their understanding of the issues facing looked after children and helps strengthen corporate parenting within the authority.
The ‘Education Champions‘ initiative is one approach to encouraging senior local authority officials to engage more actively in supporting looked after children. This initiative was developed in some local authorities in England and has been taken up in Wales by Denbighshire County Council. Each member of the Corporate Executive Team becomes an 'Education Champion‘ for a year 11 pupil who is looked after. They act as a ‘concerned parent‘ and track the progress and development ofthe young person in respect of education and other key outcomes. They have regular contact with key people working with their young person - teachers, social workers, foster carers and health professionals - to ask questions, challenge progress and try to help remove any barriers to achievement. Some ‘champions’ have also had direct contact with the young people themselves.
Denbighshire County Council believe that ensuring the effective care and protection for children who are looked after by the local authority is one ofthe most important responsibilities held by Councillors, officers and professional agencies working with children and young people. In order to provide high quality services, we must all work together to meet their needs.
Corporate Parenting is the term used to refer to the collective responsibility ofthe Council to provide the best possible care and protection for children and young people who are "looked after", that is, those who are in public care.
The scheme has been on hold for the past 12 months while a corporate restructure and a restructure within the Children and Family Service has been undertaken. Work is now unden/vay to re-establish the scheme in the forthcoming financial year.
Name: Vicky Allen
Title/role: Children and Family Service Acting Strategic Services Manager
Organisation: Denbighshire County Council
Telephone: 01824 712890