Around 40 kinship carers and their supporters from across the Scottish regions descended on the Scottish Parliament today chanting and singing loudly. They held banners and placards telling the SNP government to stop their plans for Kinship Care in the proposed in the Children and Young People Act, which the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance claim will maintain and even increase the differential treatment of children in foster care and kinship care with comparable needs. The angry group of kinship carers from the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance questioned the SNP government’s commitment to ‘make Scotland the best place for children to grow up’, claiming that the vulnerable children in their care are discriminated against and under-supported. Other placards stated that discrimination between foster and kinship children is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, met with a delegation from the Alliance on Thursday evening to hear their concerns but did not promise any changes to the legislation which is being developed, angering the Alliance further.
Scottish Kinship Care Alliance Chair and kinship carer Anne Swartz said,
“The Scottish Government claim they are ‘getting it right for every child’ but kinship children remain stigmatised and discriminated against. This is a wake up call to the SNP to stop trying to limit support in the Children and Young People Act, put serious finances behind kinship care, and make Scotland truly the best place for vulnerable children to grow up.”
Today around 60 kinship carers and their supporters and children from across the Scottish regions protested loudly, chanting and singing outside the Scottish Parliament. They spoke to and leafleted MSPs arriving at Holyrood for the parliamentary debate on the Children and Young People Bill which took place at 2pm, urging them to vote for amendments which attempt to increase the support available to kinship care families in the Bill. Kinship carers claim that if these amendments do not go through vital support for vulnerable children in kinship care will be cut.
Kinship carers and the children in their care faced the cold weather today, waving placards and banners reading ‘stop this Bill’ and ‘end the discrimination now’. One banner pointed out that ‘we are saving the Scottish government £600 million per year’ – a reference to avoided care costs from keeping kinship children in the family. They chanted loudly using a megaphone and loud voices and sang versions of popular songs. A number of MSPs came down to meet and hear from the carers before going into the parliamentary session. One commented that the demonstration could be heard inside the committee rooms!
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.