Corporate parenting in a pandemic: Considering the delivery and receipt of support to care leavers in Wales during Covid-19
Louise Roberts, Alyson Rees, Dawn Mannay, Hannah Bayfield, Cindy Corliss, Clive Diaz and Rachel Vaughan.
During COVID-19, care leavers in Wales looked to their corporate parents for support. Accordingly, this mixed method study examined the experiences of care leavers during the pandemic. It included a survey of Welsh Local Authority professionals (n=22) and interviews with Welsh care-experienced young people aged 17-24 (n=17). In their interviews, some young people reported being both practically and emotionally supported.
She made sure like, I had enough food and stuff, she helped me financially, emotionally, and obviously like when I was moving out and stuff, I was pretty suicidal she helped me there as well. You know, she was just making sure that I was okay on a day-to-day basis. She came out to see me nearly every day. (Bethan)
My social worker, she phones me regularly … she actually Facetimed me the other week actually. She’s amazing, … She keeps it quite regular cos she knows I can get down quite easily… So yeah she keeps in touch quite regular. (Jess)
However, for other young people corporate parenting support was perceived as unavailable:
I could have died, and they would not know. I have only had two check-ups; I could’ve killed myself. (Mary)
I’ve had one or two texts but only [that], I haven’t spoken to her, just a text and email … It would be nice that they checked that I was alive to be honest, you know? (Bev)
I’ve tried ringing everyone in the office, but I still can’t get hold of my social worker to this day. I haven’t spoken to him in 5, 6 months my social worker, something like that. (Paul)
The Covid-19 pandemic provided a unique lens through which to consider the role of the state as parent. Whilst evidence of good practice in Wales is encouraging, with some young people feeling both practically and emotionally supported, it is deeply concerning that other young people remained in precarious situations, feeling forgotten and neglected by their corporate parents. The findings of this study illustrate the propensity of corporate parenting to provide protection against the adversities of the pandemic, but also to compound young people’s difficulties by being inactive, unresponsive and/or uncaring.
For more information about this study, read the study:
Roberts, L., Rees, A., Mannay, D., Bayfield, H., Corliss, C., Diaz, C. and Vaughan, R. 2021. Corporate parenting in a pandemic: Considering the delivery and receipt of support to care leavers in Wales during Covid-19. Children and Youth Services Review.
You might also be interested in the following related blogs hosted on Family and Community:
In the shadow of a pandemic: Harare’s street youth COVID-19 experience
The Coronavirus pandemic: Experiences and lessons for the future