Tag Archives: Social Work

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.

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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

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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.

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Kinship carers protest new Bill outside parliamentary session

Feb 19th parliament demo19th February 2014.

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.

The demonstration was covered on STV, BBC radio (6.49mins in), BBC news, the Evening Times before and after the demo, Edinburgh Evening News and more.

Feb 19th parliament demo kidsKinship 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!

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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.

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48 Parliamentary Questions lodged on Kinship Care

national demo 201348 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.

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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

GLASGOW COUNCIL’S FIRST EVER PETITION CLAIMS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST KINSHIP CARE CHILDREN

Picture 2Glasgow 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.

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NATIONAL KINSHIP ALLIANCE LAUNCHED AS REPORT REVEALS THE TRUE COST OF KINSHIP CARE

  • Lord Provost Sadie Doherty with SKCA Chair Anne Swartz

    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).

See the video from the event here.

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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.

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