The 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.
48 Parliamentary Questions on the issue of Kinship Care have been lodged in the business bulletin of the Scottish Parliament by a group of cross party MSPs. Six questions were lodged on Friday last week by John Finnie (Independent), while the remaining 42 appeared in yesterday’s bulletin, while more than 100 Kinship Carers chanted and protested outside the parliament. The questions were lodged by Jean Urquhart (Independent), Neil Bibby (Labour), Michael McMahon (Labour), Jackie Baillie (Labour), Alison Johnstone (Green Party), Bob Doris (SNP). The full list of questions is below.
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.
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
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!
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.
Glasgow City Council’s Public Petitions Committee today heard their first petition since the scheme began in May 2012. The petition was lodged by Kinship Carers from the New Fossils Grandparents Support Group in East Glasgow who claim that the children in their care are victims of institutionalised discrimination by the City Council. Three Kinship Carers from the New Fossils group appeared before the committee and made their case.
Scottish politicians and public figures join 100 Kinship Carers at City Chambers to celebrate launch of Scottish Kinship Care Alliance.
- Buttle UK launch groundbreaking study on informal Kinship Care.
- Carers claim there is ‘institutionalised discrimination’ against their children in Scotland and demand to be included in policy making.
More than 100 Kinship Carers(1) from across Scotland(2) descended on Glasgow’s City Chambers today for the launch of their national Alliance which has been formed to campaign for the rights of the children in their care. The launch was attended by a range of MPs, MSPs, Councillors and civil servants as well as heads of Social Work, Police, and Scotland’s Human Rights Commission and Children’s Commission(3) and was hosted by the Lord Provost of Glasgow – Sadie Doherty.
Please read on for a report of today’s high profile launch and links to the extensive press coverage (at the bottom of the post).