Thursday, 13 February 2014

Show your support for Kinship Care: Write to your MSP before Wednesday's Session.

Help show your support for Kinship Carers and their children by writing to your local MSP to protest the proposed cuts in the Children and Young People's Bill. 

We need to send a clear message that carers provide invaluable support to many of our most vulnerable children yet are not properly supported for this. 

We need to communicate this to MSPs ahead of Jayne Baxter's amendment on Wednesday 19th. 

Please feel free to copy and paste the template below or write your own.

Thanks for your  support

Insert your address here

Insert date here

Re: Objection to the proposed Kinship Care Order in the Children and Young People Bill and request to support an amendment..

Dear -------------insert MSPs name here-------------,

I am writing to express my concern about the legislative measures in section 10 of the proposed Children and Young People Bill, which will create a Kinship Care Order as a new legal status and accompanying package of support for the majority of kinship care families. As you may be aware kinship carers themselves represented by the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance – the national body for kinship carers, and other organisations, are opposing these measures as they look likely to reduce the support for kinship care families in Scotland.

I am asking you, as my MSP, to raise this issue during the Stage 3 debate on the Bill on weds 19th February, to support the amendments submitted by Jayne Baxter MSP on kinship care, and to speak to the Minister for Children and Young People and the Bill team to ensure that these concerns are addressed and remedied before it is too late. If you want more information I can arrange for you to meet with kinship carers in your constituency to discuss this further.

It is worth noting that there are at least 20,000 kinship carers in Scotland (or 1 in 71 children in Scotland), and the majority of these suffer poverty and distress caused by taking on extra children according to the Buttle UK's 2013 report 'The Poor Relations'.

The Kinship Care Order as planned will reduce, or fail to increase, support for children in kinship care by:

a) Reducing the number of kinship children with Looked After status over the coming years, instead placing them on a Kinship Care Order which does not entitle them to the same level of support. The Financial memorandum openly states that this will  save the Scottish Government and local authorities money over the coming years.

b) Limiting the number of kinship care placements which can receive financial support, start up grants and support with the court costs of obtaining an order.

c) Failing to ensure that often traumatised kinship care children have priority access to psychological and educational support, which Looked After status currently entitles them to.

d) Failing to ensure that Local Authorities provide a minimum financial allowance to all kinship care families to provide for the basic costs of childcare.

Kinship Carers have asserted, and I very much agree, that support for kinship care children needs to be increased and made equitable across Scotland, not reduced or kept at the current inadequate level. Kinship children should not have a worse life-chance than those in other forms of care, and should have access to same support services in recognition of the comparable need of these children to those in foster and residential care. Basic financial support to keep these families out of poverty should also be provided at a fair and equitable rate across Scotland. Support should be given according to the child's need not the legal status of the kinship care arrangement.

Without this basic support children in kinship care are being stigmatised, discriminated against, excluded from school due to behavioural difficulties caused by unrecognised traumas, and left in poverty as their carers struggle to cope. This situation is unjust and counter productive as it is a disincentive to others to become kinship carers for vulnerable children in their family, putting a greater pressure on the taxpayer by increasing the need for foster and residential care services.

I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter and hope you will address the issue an support Jayne Baxter’s amendment on the 19th February.

Best regards,

 Insert your name here