Category Archives: Article

Alliance lobbies hard at final stages of Kinship Care Order

kinship demo june 2014The Scottish Kinship Care Alliance submitted their final response to the last consultation on the Kinship Care Order in early October, raising a number of remaining concerns with the proposals in the Act. The full response can be read below.

On 8th October members of the Alliance met 12 MSPs from cross parties including the Minister for Children and Young People – Aileen Campbell, and the Cabinet Secretary – Mike Russell. They raised concerns and asked the MSPs to:

1. Demand that the overdue review of financial allowances for kinship carers is released immediately (due December 2013), and possibilities for incorporating the recommendations into the secondary legislation are investigated (as recommended by the Stage 1 report on the Bill).

2. Demand an official review of the impact of the Kinship Care Order two years after becomes law, to gauge its success and the ongoing needs for support.

3. Build alliance of cross party MSPs who are concerned about kinship support, to raise questions on the Kinship Care Order, and debate the Act when it reaches parliament in January.

The Kinship Care Order will be debated in parliament in January 2015 and become law in April. We continue to demand recognition and proper support for kinship care children and their carers across Scotland, recognising that they have comparable needs to children in other forms of state care.

Continue reading

Alliance raises major concerns with Secondary Legislation on Kinship Care Order

Feb 19th parliament demo kids14th May 2014. The Scottish Kinship Care Alliance has responded to the Scottish Government’s draft Secondary Legislation on the Kinship sections of the Children and Young People Act, voicing their deep concerns about the suggestions to support kinship carers. In particular we are concerned about:
- the eligibility criteria for support, which would only entitle ‘children at risk of becoming Looked After’.

- the failure to legislate for a minimum financial allowance for all children in kinship care, instead leaving financial issues to the current overdue ‘financial review’, keeping it outside the legislation.

- the amount of decision making on support left to the discretion of Local Authorities, which will promote an ongoing ‘postcode lottery’ of support, rather than ensure equal provision across Scotland.
- the ongoing discrimination between the support offered to children in foster care, and children of comparable need in kinship care.

- the limit of support for kinship children until age 16, while foster care children can receive support until 21.
- the three year limit to ‘transitional’ support for children previously Looked After.
- the cost of obtaining a court petition for the Kinship Care Order, which will be high for the majority of carers who are unable to access Legal Aid.

The full response can be downloaded here Secondary legislation parts 12 and 13 response April 2014, or read in full below, and can be read in conjunction with the draft secondary legislation proposals which can be downloaded here. Children and Young People Act 2014 – Part 12 and 13

Continue reading

Vulnerable children and their carers are being let down by Scotland’s politicians

Anne Swartz (on right) outside the Scottish Parliament

Anne Swartz (on right) outside the Scottish Parliament

5th March 2014.  This article by Alliance Chair Anne Swartz appeared in the Guardian Comment is Free today.

Kinship carers fulfil a vital need for the children they care for while saving taxpayers money, yet their right to assistance is under threat

Kinship carers – relatives or family friends who permanently care for children who would otherwise be in the care system – held a large demonstration outside the Scottish parliament last week. They are rightfully distraught that, despite years of campaigning for recognition and support for the vulnerable children in their care, the Scottish government is planning to reduce, rather than increase, their right to assistance.

The children and young people (Scotland) bill sets out a new legal status called a kinship care order, which the government claims will finally recognise kinship carers in law and increase the support they are offered. However, a closer look at the proposals reveals they are billed as saving the Scottish government and local authorities money by reducing the number of kinship children with “at risk” or “looked after” status, which entitles them to crucial services and financial allowances. The financial memorandum of the bill states that only a fraction of those applying for the new kinship care order are expected to be entitled to start-up grants, the legal cost of applying for the order or a basic allowance to support their caring role.

Continue reading

48 PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS ON KINSHIP CARE ANSWERED

national demo 2013The Scottish Government has now given its reply to the 48 Parliamentary Questions on Kinship Care filed by seven MSPs from cross parties in September. The replies confirm much of what we already knew: that the Scottish Government has not adequately researched the needs of children in Kinship Care, or the success of its initiatives to support them to date; that there is discrimination between the support offered to children in Foster and formal Kinship Care on the same legal standing who have comparable needs; and that provision for the majority of children in Kinship Care who are on section 11 orders or none at all is virtually non-existent. The report below gives more detail on the answers and some of the issues raised. The full list of questions and answers can also be found at the bottom of this post.

  Continue reading

The Herald covers national Kinship demo

Kinship Carer Eleanor Brownlie from West Glasgow spoke to the Herald.

Kinship Carer Eleanor Brownlie from West Glasgow spoke to the Herald.

23rd September 2013, From today’s Herald newspaper: 

MORE than 100 grandparents will demand local authorities are given funding to support those who look after their ­vulnerable young relatives as they protest outside the Scottish Parliament.

They say kinship carers such as themselves are discriminated against by being denied many of the supports offered to foster carers, including basic financial allowances, educational support and child therapy.

Continue reading

SKCA OPPOSES KINSHIP CARE ORDER in CYP BILL

Kinship Carers tell of their plight at the SKCA launch

Kinship Carers tell of their plight at the SKCA launch

29th July 2013. On Friday the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance submitted its comprehensive response to the Education and Culture Committee’s call for evidence on the Children and Young People’s Bill. In April the Scottish Government released more information on the new measures for Kinship Carers which is had proposed in the Bill. This revealed that far from increasing provisions for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children who are in Kinship Care, they are intending to save money and decrease the support available! This will largely be achieved by taking children off Looked After status (which is currently the only way to guarantee any adequate support) and putting them onto a new legal status called a Kinship Care Order.

Our response not only decries this despicable move to keep Kinship children and their carers in poverty and distress, but also points out that this discrimination between children in Kinship Care and their oftentimes brothers and sisters with comparable needs in foster care, is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The SKCA will expose the Scottish Government’s disregard for Human Rights law in the coming year.

Kinship carers and politicians and policy makers at the SCKA launch

Kinship carers and politicians and policy makers at the SCKA launch

One of the most disappointing elements of the Bill’s ‘progress’ is the way in which the views of Kinship Carers have been outrightly ignored by the Bill team and the Scottish Government. We have had several meetings with the Bill team, and, along with other respected agencies such as the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Commission on Children and Young People, Social Work Glasgow and the Poverty Truth Commission, have made the needs of Kinship children for basic support abundantly clear. However, the team have ignored our emotional stories and plentiful evidence and done the opposite. We are deeply concerned that there is an institutionalised discrimination within the Scottish Government, which has already condemned children in Kinship Care to the scrap heap.

We will not back down and are building alliances to ensure Kinship children do get access to essential services and are given the chance these innocent children deserve in life.

Please see the full response below. Continue reading

LANDMARK RULING FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CARERS

Royal Courts of Justice, London

Royal Courts of Justice, London

9th July 2013.  A case in Tower Hamlets, London, has resulted in another landmark ruling that Kinship Carers are entitled to the same level of support as foster carers. The ruling recognises that foster and kinship carers take care of children with comparable needs and vulnerability, and essentially do the same job, yet foster carers are very well supported and many Kinship Carers receive very little or even nothing.  It is worth noting that the situation in Scotland is much worse than the case mentioned here, as very few Kinship Carers would receive the £200/week stated here. In fact the average Kinship allowance (which varies across Scotland and is only available to Kinship Carers on certain legal orders) is around £60/week.
 It is time a similar case was taken in Scotland to challenge the institutionalised discrimination between children in foster and kinship care here.  Any lawyers do get in touch!

Read the full story below, and another article – ‘Unsung heroine’ wins landmark foster care case against Tower Hamlets Council in High Courthere. Continue reading

SCOTTISH CARERS FORM ALLIANCE IN WESTMINSTER

 

Jessie speaking at Westminster

Jessie speaking at Westminster

May 1st, 2013.   Scottish Kinship Carers from the Alliance spoke at Westminster in May, on the invite of the Global Women’s Strike – a global women’s network who have been campaigning for many years for women’s rights and recognition for women’s unpaid work. Jessie Harvey from Kinship for the Future (North) in Glasgow, and Anne Swartz, Kinship Alliance chair and chair of the West Dunbartonshire group joined other carers from around the UK to launch a petition calling for a living wage for all mothers and carers in recognition of the crucial role they carry out in society.

Jessie gave a moving speech to MPs and other carers which can be seen on youtube here.  A letter to the Guardian newspaper entitled Kinship Carers also need support’  was subsequently published, and the Alliance is now working closely with Global Women’s Strike.

The petition can be found here. Please do sign and watch the other moving speeches on the Global Women’s Strike Website

Kinship Carers say human rights are threatened

Carer and child DumbartonThe Scottish Kinship Care Alliance has submitted its first consultation response – to the Scottish Human Rights Commission’s consultation on the top Human Rights priorities for Scotland which they should include in a National Action Plan on Human Rights.

Our response focuses on the Human Rights issues affecting children in Kinship Care in Scotland. The full response is below.

Continue reading

Glasgow Kinship groups call to end discrimination in Children and Young People Bill

Granny in street picGlasgow Kinship support groups have responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed Kinship Order suggested in the Children and Young People Bill. The responses point out the need to address the discrimination that currently exists against children in Kinship Care and ensure that more, not less, children in Kinship Care are able to access support, services and allowances to provide the very basics to the vulnerable children in their care. The responses highlight that:

* Access to the proposed Order and allowances, support and benefits that should come with it must be available to non-looked after as well as looked-after children. Services and support must follow the child rather than the placement. (ie no matter what legal order the child is under they still get help if they need it).

* Though there should be the option for more parental rights and less statutory involvement if that’s what the Kinship family want and the child is happy and settled, social work should remain as a support when needed for example with contact time with parents etc.

* The proposed Kinship Order must come with a legal obligation to provide support to the child. This should include financial allowance, psychological and educational services and respite for the kinship carers.

Continue reading