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.
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.