Supporting Scotland’s Kinship Carers: Caring For Those Who Care

This briefing will consider the invaluable role that kinship carers play in looking after disadvantaged children and young people in Scotland and how we can best support them to create loving homes.

The context

The number of looked after children placed with kinship carers is increasing: from 1,731 in 2006 to 4,279 in 2016. It is also estimated that thousands more children and young people live in informal kinship care arrangements, with the 2011 Census suggesting there were between 11,000-17,000 children living in kinship care. 

The evidence shows that children in kinship care can be more likely to achieve a permanent home and have improved wellbeing and behavioural outcomes. However caring for a young person or child who has experienced neglect or trauma is challenging and many kinship carers tend to be older, have lower incomes, poorer health and less education than non-kin foster parents.

The event

Scotland’s kinship carers need support. This event will explore the current resources available, including the National Kinship Care Service, and ask what more we can do to ensure that they are empowered to care for Scotland’s children.

Key issues to be addressed

  • Challenges facing kinship carers and young people and the difference that kinship carers can make to children’s lives
  • Juggling finances: impact on employment, the kinship care allowance, and benefits
  • Kinship care and the children’s hearing system
  • Building relationships and kinship care: attachment, children’s wellbeing, self-care and relations with parents


09:15 Registration and refreshments

09:55 Opening remarks from the chair

Tam Baillie, Former Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

Session 1: Kinship Care in Scotland

In this opening session we will look at the experiences of kinship carers in Scotland, reviewing the latest evidence and research.

10:00 Kinship care and me: kinship carers and their families share their experiences

Heather McVeigh, Director, Mentor Scotland

Heather will be joined by kinship carers from the Scottish Kinship Care Advisory Group

10:20 Kinship Care Across Scotland

  • Brief outline of the service provided by Citizens Advice Scotland
  • What our statistics reveal – the gathered evidence
  • What kinship carers tell us – the anecdotal evidence

Gill Westwood, National Co-Ordinator - Kinship Care Service, Citizens Advice Scotland

10:40 Creative Engagement: Gathering the Views of Kinship Carers to Inform Services

  • Brief overview of the PhD study
  • The value of choice and the use of creative methods in exploring lived experiences
  • What we can learn from using creative engagement  

Kim Hall, Graduate Tutor, Social Work, Education & Community Wellbeing, Northumbria University

11:00 Questions and discussions

11:15 Refreshments

Session 2: Stable Homes For Scotland’s Kinship Carer Families

There can be uncertainty about the length and permanency of kinship care placements. This is turn can affect the wellbeing of the child or young person in care. In this session we will look at how we work with kinship carers and the young people they care for to help create stable homes.

11:30 Kinship Care: benefits, allowances and advice

Alison Gillies, Welfare Rights Worker, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland

11:50 Kinship care and Children’s Hearings

Malcolm Schaffer, Head of Practice and Policy, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA)

12:10 Achieving Safety and Stability for Children Without Delay

  • The impact of drift an delay in decision making on children
  • Embedding change – a model for improvement   

Carol Wassell, Permanence and Care Team Lead, CELCIS

12:30 Questions and discussion

12:45 Lunch

Session 3: Love, Wellbeing And Kinship Carers

In a recent article Duncan Dunlop of Who Cares? Scotland stated 'Young people want to be loved. They want the freedom to love people back […] Let’s talk about how we bring young people up in an environment that is stable and secure but also, shows them that we love them.' Kinship carers, particularly when given effective support, can provide that loving environment. This final session will explore how we can work with kinship carers to help Scotland’s Looked after Children stay in loving homes which nurture their wellbeing.

13:30 Health Matters in Kinship Care

Anne Wilson, Development Officer, Children’s Health Scotland 

13:50 Respite for kinship carers

Jane Timoney, Respite Co-ordinator, Geeza Break

14:10 Questions and discussion

14:20 Interactive workshop: How stories, songs and rhymes develop relationships and lead to better outcomes for kinship carers and children

  • Interactive session with lots of practical songs and rhymes Discussion about how songs, rhymes, stories develop relationships and how this impacts on children’s learning

Tracy Cooper, Early Years Programme Development Manager, Scottish Book Trust 

15:05 Closing reflections from kinship carers

Micheleine Kane, Chair, Scottish Kinship Care Alliance 

15:15 Closing remarks from the chair

15:20 Close of event

*Agenda subject to change


Crowne Plaza, 18 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5AQ | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

27 March 2018



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