Children’s Minister Maree Todd and the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh.

By Lizzie Healey

Children who have experienced family break-ups or the death of a parent need to be looked after.

And the people who do that work should be on the same rate of pay as foster carers.

However, that is not happening at the moment, the Scottish Parliament was told on Thursday.

SNP MSP Willie Coffey asked whether non-looked-after “kinship carers” should receive the same level of financial support that foster carers and looked-after kinship carers receive when looking after children

But the answer was far from clear and the situation complicated.

Maree Todd, the Minister for Children and Young People, told parliament: “Kinship carers of non-looked-after children can receive the same level of financial support as foster carers where there is a kinship care order in place under section 11(1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

“We are aware that kinship care orders are not always right in individual cases. We continue to consider how best to ensure that kinship carers get the support that they need.”

Mr Coffey said he knows people who are kinship carers, having voluntarily taken in their grandchildren, for example, but who do not meet the criteria for kinship carer allowance, which seems to be payable only where there is a risk element involved.

“That means that they are struggling financially. Will the minister consider reviewing the criteria for the kinship carer allowance to make it available to kinship carers of non-looked-after children?”

Maree Todd said the agreement on kinship carer allowance does not apply to all kinship carers and that has raised concerns among those who do not meet the eligibility criteria.

She added: “The Scottish Government provides clear guidance on how local authorities should assess whether a child is at risk of becoming looked after. As with all such guidance, we will keep these matters under constant review.

“Because each kinship carer’s circumstances are unique, the Scottish Government funds Citizens Advice Scotland to provide specialised advice for kinship carers along with signposting to local support services, including support on financial and legal matters.

“We have worked with, and will continue to work with, our social security colleagues, including those in Westminster, to ensure that kinship carers can access a variety of benefits to alleviate the additional costs of caring for their family’s children.”

One comment

  1. As chair of both Scottish kinship alliance and west Dunbartonshire kinship care we have and still are campaigning to have this barbaric rule removed and ALL kinship children to be treated equally regardless of the route that took them there
    To say that a carer who loses their own child or sibling or even a parent then takes on the child left has done this “voluntary “if not left to social work is barbaric.
    No parent who has had the trauma of losing a child then taking a grandchild “voluntarily “ should ever be punished by a system that’s supposed to protect .
    It is natural instinct to protect and no carer is going to say oh I can’t go get my grandchild I won’t get help !
    CAS gets funding from Scottish government but we have found very big disparities on west coast also of a kinship carer in Glasgow needs CAS the nearest is Dumfries and Galloway ! and for West Dunbartonshire it’s Airdrie !
    If a new kinship carer who unfortunately has to rely on benefits gets a child they will now be subject to the universal credit change of circumstance 5 week rule that will inevitably plunge them into poverty and add more stress to and already stressful situation
    It’s time these barbaric rules were changed and children who need to be looked after by family afforded the same as EVERY child looked after anywhere in Scotland.Kinship is not only the best outcome but also affords room for 2nd chances where as adoption is permanent there is no going back .
    The bigger picture and the best outcomes for all these children. Should always be priority for any government.

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