Kinship carers – grandparents and other relatives who look after children when their birth parents cannot – claim they have been left “reeling in shock” after the contract for a vital helpline and support service was given to two adoption and fostering organisations.Continue reading
The 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.
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.
See the coverage: STV Kinship carers in Scottish Parliament protest over ‘discrimination’
Evening Times Kinship carers stage protest at Holyrood
Daily Record Scottish Kinship Care Alliance protest against Children and Young People Act at Holyrood
“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.”
Please join Kinship Carers from across Scotland outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday 20th June at midday to tell the Scottish Government to stop their plans to continue discrimination against children in kinship care in the new Children and Young People Act.
Please be there in your numbers with placards and banners and loud voices!
We will be telling the Scottish Government:
– to stop discriminating between children in kinship care and foster care in the new Children and Young People Act.
– to stop plans to reduce, or fail to increase basic support services and financial allowances for kinship children in poverty and affected by trauma in the new Act.
– that this discrimination is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, articles 8 and 14.
– that ALL children in kinship care should be treated the same as comparable children in foster care with the same access to services and support.
Our full response to the Scottish Government’s Secondary Legislation can be seen here. We will be highlighting these points at the demonstration.
Please share this far and wide on facebook, twitter and email!
14th 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 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
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.
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!
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.
Today more than 100 Kinship Carers and their supporters from across the Scottish regions descended on the Scottish Parliament demanding fair treatment for the children in their care. Carers came from Angus, Stirling, Kirkcaldy, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, Glasgow, Dumfries, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire. They chanted slogans such as ‘We won’t stop, we will fight, Kinship kids have human rights!’, and ‘Scottish Government: Shame on you!’, sung songs and held banners and placards with various demands. Many placards stated ‘justice for kinship kids’, while others said ‘Kinship kids are humans. Stop the discrimination!”. The National Day of Action was declared by the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance – the national body representing Kinship Carers across Scotland.
A Kinship Care support group for North Ayrshire simultaneously protested outside the Irvine council offices as part of the Day of Action.
Please see below for pictures, a full report, and links to the huge amount of press coverage we received! Massive thanks to everyone who made today possible..