It contains all the information kinship carers need to ensure they get the support to which they may be entitled
A guide has been launched to help people who care for the child of a relative, or friend, after the vast majority of kinship carers said they were not given enough information about how to access financial and emotional support.
In response, the Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland (KCASS) has produced a booklet which contains all the information kinship carers need to ensure they get the support to which they may be entitled.
The booklet, titled What Now? also includes a glossary explaining key terms, a guide to the kinship assessment system, and contact details of organisations and support groups who can offer help and advice to carers.
Since 2010, there has been a significant increase across Scotland in the number of children being cared for by family member or friend because they are unable to live with their birth parents, an arrangement known as kinship care.
The latest Scottish Government statistics show there were 4,456 children formally looked after in kinship care in 2019-20, (31% of the looked after population), compared to 3,172 children in 2009-2010 (20% of the looked after population).
What Now? Is being launched during Kinship Care Week, and KCASS, which is operated by Adoption UK Scotland and Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland in collaboration with the Child Poverty Action Group, is urging kinship carers and social workers to get in touch for a copy.
Susan Hunter, KCASS project coordinator, said: “Since its inception our KCASS Advisory Group, all of whom are kinship carers, has highlighted the lack of suitable information available to them, particularly at the start of their kinship journey. All too often kinship carers get in touch with our helpline asking for assistance; they have taken on the care of children at short notice with no understanding of what this will entail for them and their family.
“Kinship carers describe feeling overwhelmed and very much alone. Where they have been provided with information, they have found this to be difficult to comprehend with terms they are not familiar with, leaving them confused and uninformed.”
Fiona Aitken, director, Adoption UK Scotland, said: “We’re proud to be facilitating Kinship Care Week as an opportunity for us to raise the profile of the carers who tirelessly provide loving homes for their children. The week allows us to provide valuable opportunities for children in kinship families to take part in fun activities, workshops and group sessions for carers and learning and networking events for practitioners, encouraging all Scottish kinship care families, and those who support them, to take part.”
Robin Duncan, Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland director, added: “Kinship Care Week is a great opportunity to increase awareness of kinship care and give recognition to the carers for the remarkable, and often unsung, contribution they make. It also gives us the chance to spread the word about the new What Now? booklet so that this can be as widely available as possible helping to improve the availability and consistency of support to people when they take on the care of a child.”
This year’s Kinship Care Week takes place from March 14-18 and features a range of webinars and discussion groups for carers, social workers, and childcare professionals. A full programme of events can be found at https://kinship.scot/kinship-care-week-2022/
Kinship carers or professionals can order a copy of What Now? by contacting KCASS at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 0808 800 0006. A pdf of the booklet is available to download here: https://kinship.scot/info-resources/what-now-booklet/