Conference 1 - Claire Leitch

Conference gives voice to care experienced community

An East Ayrshire conference brought together corporate parent organisations to hear the views of care experienced children and young people on our current services.

The East Ayrshire Corporate Parenting Conference was attended by those who have a responsibility for working together to safeguard and meet the needs of looked after children and young people and care leavers. Most importantly, our young people were able to join delegates to provide first hand insights into what is working well and what we could improve to help them reach their ambitions.

Co-ordinated by East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership and East Ayrshire Council, the event opened with a choice of workshop-style sessions focused around our East Ayrshire Corporate Parenting Action Plan 2021-24. Themes investigated how corporate parents can support children and young people in care to stay together with brothers and sisters and maintain their relationships; enjoy better health and wellbeing; reach their goals and aspirations in education and wider achievements; participate in decision making, and have strong relationships and opportunities within their communities.

The conference was opened and closed by Councillor Claire Leitch, East Ayrshire Council’s Children’s Champion, who urged delegates to approach their role as corporate parents with unconditional love and respect.

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about The Promise, Scotland’s commitment to bring about the changes highlighted in the Independent Care Review; Pizza and Coke, a forum for care experienced young people and East Ayrshire’s elected members to meet and share their views; and Bright Spots, a survey programme to identify what was important to care experienced children and young people and care leavers.

Councillor Jim McMahon, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Social Care and Mental Wellbeing,  said: “Unfortunately, due to other work commitments I was unable to attend the conference, but was made aware of the great success of the event. Representing the voice of children and young people at our Corporate Parenting Conference has been a top priority for us. Having our care experienced community in the room and participating in discussions about how we can do things better is the only way to bring about changes that matter.

“We know there is still a lot that we need to do, and our young people are telling us what we need to focus on. We all need to do our part and level the playing field, so they can achieve everything they deserve in life, and we need to pledge this support to all these amazing people with compassion and kindness.”