Last Updated: Thursday, June 09, 2022

Summary information relating to Corporate Parenting

What is this?

A summary of key information, resources and exemplification relating to:

  • Corporate parenting
  • Looked after children and young people
  • Care experienced children and young people
  • Care leavers

Who is this for?

This page aims to support policy makers and practitioners from all sectors with an interest in, or responsibility for 'Corporate Parenting' and 'Looked After and Care Experienced Children and Young People'. All educational practitioners, within or out with a school, are Corporate Parents.

How to use this information to improve practice

The information in this summary gives practitioners access to key information, resources and policies to support professional learning and to be even better corporate parents. It also provides connections to partners who can support this work.

Improvement questions

  • How am I helping care experienced children and young people be ready to learn and then engage in learning?
  • What could I do more of, less of, or differently to support care experienced learners?
  • How can partnership working, with other practitioners, parents, the wider community, and partners, be developed further to better support care experienced children and young people’s wellbeing and to achieve better educational outcomes?
  • What professional learning do I need, or can offer, to support practitioners to be even better corporate parents?

Guide to this summary

  1. Definitions
  2. Key legislation, policy, and guidance
  3. Key facts
  4. Resources and reports
    • General education
    • Case studies
    • Self-evaluation
    • Professional learning
  5. Supporting agencies
  6. Links to other Corporate Parents

1. Definitions

Corporate parents are all ‘agencies and organisations of the state’ listed within Schedule 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 who have statutory duties to collaborate with each other in upholding the rights and securing the wellbeing of looked after children.

Corporate parenting represents the principles, duties and actions necessary to uphold the rights and secure the wellbeing of a looked after child or care leaver, and through which physical, emotional, spiritual, social and educational development is promoted, from infancy through to adulthood. It is a role which should complement and support the actions of parents, families and carers, working with these key adults to deliver positive change for vulnerable children and young people. Read the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers found on the Government website. Watch a short 4 minute video explaining what corporate parenting is and how the six duties may apply to you.

‘Looked after' includes children and young people who are currently looked after in a formal arrangement with a local authority, but not always, involving compulsory supervision arrangements following a children’s hearing. Children can be looked after while remaining in the family home, with social work support, or in kinship, foster or residential care placement.

‘Care experienced’ children and young people include those who have been looked after by a local authority at any time during their life. This includes adoptive children who were previously looked after. This is the preferred term identified by those with experience of the care system, as it is inclusive of those who may no longer be “looked after” but still live with the effects of this experience.

‘Care leaver‘ describes a young person who was looked after on or after their 16th birthday and who is aged under 26.


  • children and young people (CYP) can be Looked after and Care experienced at the same time.
  • The term Care experienced is becoming more widely used as it is more inclusive and the language preferred by CYP however the legislation refers to and applies to CYP who are defined as being ‘looked after’ or as a ’care leaver’.
  • definitions for the different types of care can be found in Care Experienced Children and Young People Definitions Document.

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2. Key legislation, policies, and guidance

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Part 9): Current legislation on corporate parenting

Statutory guidance on Part 9 (Corporate Parenting) of the CYP Act 2014: Current statutory guidance

Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004: All looked after CYP are covered by this Act as they are considered to have additional support needs until assessed otherwise.

Additional support for learning: statutory guidance 2017 (Code of Practice): Current statutory guidance.

Equality Act 2010: Current equality legislation (care experience is not legally a protected characteristic however many corporate parents treat ‘looked after’ status or care experience as if it was).

Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC): Policy developed to support families by making sure CYP can receive the right help, at the right time, from the right people.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989: A treaty which comprehensively provides for the rights of children.

Independent Care Review: set up to identify and deliver lasting change in the care system.

Scottish Care leavers Covenant: set up by stakeholders to close the gap between policy and practice for care leavers.

Core Tasks for Designated Managers: to ensure improvement in outcomes for looked after CYP.

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3. Key Data (focus on educational outcomes and leaver destinations for Care Experienced CYP)

Scottish National Standardised Assessments: national report 2017/18: published by Scottish Government.

Education Outcomes for Looked After Children 2017/18: published annually by Scottish Government.

College Regional Outcomes Report 2018/19, College Leavers Destinations 2016/17 and Widening Access Executive Summary 2017/18: published by Scottish Funding Council relating to college students.

Children’s Social Work Statistics 2017/18: published by Scottish Government and provides equalities data for looked after CYP, child protection and secure care.

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4. Resources and reports

General education

CELCIS Knowledge Bank: bank of academic reports, blogs, practice papers and helpful resources relating to care experience.

Corporate Parenting (Who Cares? Scotland) Learning Hub: source of resources on corporate parenting and advocacy (run by Who Cares? Scotland.

Propel: Website with advice for teachers and care leavers on higher education.

#Partycipation - Learn about the CELCIS Participation Network.

Children and Young People’s Voice

Learner participation: Young Radical’s views

Engaging With Families (2018): suite of resources to support practitioners to engage with families.

Let’s Learn Together (2018): guide for parents and teachers of adopted children in Primary School.

Corporate parenting-turning legislation into practice together: Scottish Government Report 2018: how looked after CYP have benefitted from corporate parenting support.

Preventing Offending: Getting it right for children and young people Progress Report 2017: Scottish Government report on youth justice strategy (2015) progress.

Designated Manager Survey: Summary Findings (2017): How schools support Care Experienced CYP.

Careers Information, Advice and Guidance services and post transitions: views of Care Experienced young people (2016) Skills Development Scotland.

Overseen Often Overlooked: Children and young people looked after at Home (2015)

Closing the Attainment gap in Scottish Education (2014): what teachers, schools, local and national government and other education providers can do to close the educational attainment gap associated with poverty in Scotland. See also Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund: national operational guidance: This fund specifically supports raising attainment for Care Experienced CYP.

Improving Educational Outcomes for Children Looked After at Home: Use of 'Improvement Methodology' (2014 updated 2019).

What Works in Supporting Children and Young People to Overcome Persistent Poverty? (2013)

Scotland's first nation-wide survey of Care Experienced students in Scotland's colleges and universities: Students with care experience need access to practical, emotional and financial support.

Case studies

Corporate Parenting: Case Studies (mostly videos).

Corporate Parenting Promising Practice (2019): a collation of examples of current practice.

CELCIS: Homelessness and Care Experience: Beyond the Headlines (2019).

CELCIS: A Care leavers path to University (2018).

CELCIS: Improving the Transition to Secondary School for looked after children (2016).


How good is our school? 4 (2015): current self-evaluation tool for schools (part of a suite of ‘HGIO’ tools).

Improving Services for children: How good is our Corporate Parenting? How good can we be? (2009).

Professional Learning

CELCIS: training and events.

CELCIS Education Forum: network to support education authorities and practitioners.

Children in Scotland: training and events.

Corporate Parenting Learning Hub: guidance material for corporate parents.

We Can and Must Do Better: professional learning units and resource bank.

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5. Supporting Agencies

Who Cares? Scotland: national voluntary organisation providing membership and independent advocacy for Care Experienced people. Their vision is for a lifetime of equality, respect and love for Care Experienced people.

CELCIS: the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection in Scotland (formerly for Looked After Children in Scotland), based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Scottish Funding Council: Inclusion priorities for care-experienced people.

Association of Directors of Education in Scotland: Directors of local authorities with responsibility for education. All Local Authorities are corporate parents.

Enquire: Organisation tasked by Scottish Government to offer advice on ‘additional support for learning’ for practitioners, parents and young people.

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6. Links to other Corporate Parents

(this is not an exhaustive list, see full list)