Kinship Care Project
Aberlour Child Care Trust, in partnership with Tayside Council on Alcohol and Children 1st, is running a pilot Kinship Care Project. In the city there are more than 300 children living with kinship carers and these intergenerational carers (such as grandparents and aunts) don’t receive the financial benefits or support services they need. The pilot, supported for one year with funding from Dundee Alcohol and Drugs Partnership Innovation Fund, aims to develop an effective, sustainable range of supports for Kinship Carers living in Dundee who have volunteered as carers because of the chaotic, problematic use of alcohol and/or other drugs by the parent(s).
The Project undertakes to:
- scope out different models for kinship carer support
- identify the views, issues and needs of the target groups (carers, children and parents)
- provide opportunities for carers to become actively involved as volunteers in service provision and development
- produce an end of project report with clearly identified key issues, evaluation of project activity and a proposal for taking this area of work forward.
Need was established through Aberlour’s long experience of providing a service for children and families coping with issues of substance misuse. For almost 135 years the charity has been defending the right of children to be kept safe, fulfill their potential, enjoy the benefits of stable family life and inclusion in their communities. 4 – 6% of the under 16 population in Scotland is affected by parental Class A drug misuse and according to trends, that figure is set to triple in the next 20 years. Almost half of the 99 children on the child protection register in Dundee are living in homes with evidence of substance misuse. Aberlour’s Outreach Dundee service has been providing a citywide service of intensive support to children and families affected by parental substance use (drugs and alcohol) since 2001.
Stirling University Study (with Children 1st) “Children’s Voices in Kinship Care” (2008)
This research gave a clear message that within kinship care it was good that young people’s living situation felt normal and they did not feel different from their peers. There emerged a clear need for on-going support for young people and their carers where unresolved emotional issues, such as loss or damaging inter-generational conflict, are a significant feature. A need was identified for support to deal with young people’s feelings of indebtedness when an older generation “takes them in “. Kinship care was seen to be a much more effective option in terms of maintaining healthy attachments than multiple foster care. The continuity that kinship care offers young people is important – particularly in knowing and understanding their family history and making sense of their past. Career aspirations and prospects were also shown to be much enhanced in the kinship care model.
For all these reasons, Aberlour believes it is important to support the intergenerational initiative we now call Kinship Care. In 2008/9 Aberlour Outreach Dundee worked with 46 parents and 122 children.
“I’ve tried for nine years to get some kind of support but because social workers feel the kids are OK and in a safe environment, they think I don’t need any help” Liz, grandmother, caring for four grandchildren due to her daughter’s drug addiction.