Article 21 of the UNCRC says that when a child or young person is adopted or living in foster care, their best interests should come first. People should listen to what a child or young person wants and should take this into account when making decisions about where they live.
If a child or young person becomes adopted, they should be adopted by people who are able to treat them well. Adoption should be properly regulated to make sure all children and young people can live a safe and happy life.
The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland is one of many organisations and individuals who are corporate parents.
A corporate parent is the name given to an organisation or person who has special responsibilities to care experienced children and young people. This may include:
- those in residential care,
- those in foster care,
- those in kinship care, who live with a family member other than a parent, and
- those who are looked after at home.
In simple terms, a corporate parent is intended to carry out many of the roles a loving parent should. While they may not be able to provide everything a parent can, but they should still be able to provide the children and young people they’re responsible for with the best possible support and care.
Corporate parent responsibilities are intended to encourage people and organisations to do as much as they can towards improving the lives of care experienced and looked after children, so that they:
- feel in control of their lives, and
- are able to overcome the barriers they face
Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 puts the concept of corporate parenting into Scots law. It makes it so:
- there are certain things corporate parents have to do by law for the children and young people they’re responsible for,
- corporate parents have to report to Scottish Ministers on how they’re carrying out their responsibilities.
How a corporate parent’s performance is reviewed
Corporate parents must report to Scottish Ministers on how they’re carrying out their responsibilities, and must follow the guidance that Ministers issue on how to carry out their duties. Ministers have to report every 3 years on how well corporate parenting is working in Scotland.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau Scotland provides comprehensive information on their website and advice in their offices or on the free confidential Kinship Care helpline (tel. 0808 800 0006).
Children1st also operate a kinship care service and helpline (tel. 08000 28 22 33).
Article 21 of the UNCRC says that children and young people can be adopted by people in a country that is not their own, but this should only happen as a last resort. If this happens, people should make sure they will be treated as well as they would be if they were adopted in their own country.
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