8th March 2017. Members of the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance today joined groups of women from all over Britain to celebrate International Women’s Day and fight for women’s rights as carers, mothers and equals. Parallel protests happened in more than 50 countries globally addressing women’s rights and striking from home and workplace duties. The London event was organised by the Alliance’s close allies – Global Women’s Strike – alongside a variety of other groups including WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality, who made the long journey from Scotland.
Kinship care once again became a key issue as three SNP MPs joined the protest and stood with the kinship carers. Chair of the Alliance Micheliene Kane spoke to the large audience outside the Houses of Parliament highlighting the continuing disparity between formal and informal children in kinship care, despite the increase in support which carers have recently received after years of campaigning.
The 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.
Stop the Scottish Government reducing support to vulnerable children in kinship care as part of the new Children and Young People Bill!
Please join our national demonstration at the Scottish Parliament from 12 – 2pm on 19th February 2014, to catch MSPs before they go into parliament for the Stage 3 debate on the Children and Young People Bill!! Bring placards and loud voices. This is one of our last chances to stop support being reduced as part of this Bill.
Also please sign our petition and/or cut and paste the letter below to send to your MSP. You can find your MSP and email them using this link, and then copying the letter below into the text box, with any alternations you want to make. Please send this to all your friends. We need as many letters and signatures as possible before the 19th Feb.
The Scottish Government have launched a new Children and Young People bill which contains a section on Kinship Care. This could mean big and potentially very positive changes for children in Kinship Care and the carers, but the bill is still in early stages and it is not clear exactly how it will translate into policy and real support yet.
You can see the full bill here . The Kinship section begins at para 149.
It includes proposals to remove the complicated system of different legal orders currently in place, and the unjust differentiation between formal and informal kinship care which depends on the level of Social Work involvement in placing the child, and replace them with one Kinship Order. This would theoretically be available to all kinship carers but would require some assessment of need and suitability by the local authority. Groups across Glasgow will be feeding in to the consultation and we’ll be raising our concerns about how assessment and awarding of the order are carried out. If the bar is set too high many excellent and loving carers will be excluded. If it is set at a fair level there will be a large increase in demand from carers in need and we hope they will be ready for this and able to back it financially.
On Thursday 26th April Kinship Carers in Glasgow and Edinburgh demonstrated at Council Chambers demanding justice and asking council candidates to sign four pledges to support the vulnerable children in their care.
See our press release below..
Kinship Carers demand justice outside Glasgow City Chambers, April 2012.
ACROSS SCOTLAND KINSHIP CARERS TAKE TO THE STREETS DEMANDING JUSTICE
Kinship Carers demonstrate to demand that local election candidates agree to their national manifesto.
36 Council candidates from all main parties meet with carers in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Basic support for vulnerable Kinship children still not in place after years of campaigning.
Grandparents from across Scotland took to the streets today unperturbed by the rain, demanding that council election candidates from all parties sign a pledge to support vulnerable children living with non-parental family and friends.
MLAs in the Northern Ireland parliament heard a plea for kinship carers to receive the same same support and allowances provided for foster parents, on 17 April 2012.
Kinship Care is not just an issue in Scotland but across the UK and Europe. This week in Northern Ireland a debate was held in parliament sponsored by Michelle McIlveen (DUP) over whether there was adequate support for children in Kinship Care. The BBC’s Democracy Live reported:
The DUP’s Michelle McIlveen explained that one third of looked-after children in Northern Ireland lived in kinship care arrangements.
Sue Ramsey, chairperson of the health committee, said family members became kinship carers because their instincts told them it was better for the child not to be taken into the care of the social services.
These were often casual arrangements, she added. The vast majority of kinship carers were unlikely to come into contact with the social services and were not receiving the support they required.
This was partly due to fear, Ms Ramsey explained, citing an example where social services threatened to remove a number of children because their carers had not bought a fireguard.
We are the national network of Kinship Care groups across Scotland. We are a grassroots organisation run by Kinship Carers, formed to campaign for basic rights and justice for the vulnerable children in our care. To find out about our plight look at About Kinship and Our Stories. Read Justice for Kinship Kids for information on our long running campaign and demands for equality, and read relevant news here on the front page. To find out about Kinship Care support groups or support our campaign please Contact us.