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 Court – here. Continue reading →
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.
Lord Provost Sadie Doherty with SKCA Chair Anne Swartz
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).
The 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.
Glasgow 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.
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.
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.