Kinship carers are being celebrated in Liverpool next week – and grandparents, relative or family friends bringing up someone else’s child are being urged to get involved.
Kinship Carers Liverpool is the longest running and largest kinship care support group in the country, and established National Kinship Carers Week in Oct 2015 to raise awareness of the hidden number of carers keeping children out of local authority care.
A series of events has been organised by the charity, which is based at Ellergreen Community Centre in Norris Green and supports kinship carers in Liverpool, to promote awareness and celebrate the amazing work they do. Research shows that the outcomes for young people staying within the family are much better.
Kinship Carers Liverpool provides practical and emotional support for families, taking them out on day trips, pamper days and organising coffee mornings and fun activities, as well as helping them to navigate their way through the maze of regulations and obstacles they come up against, be it legal, money or parenting issues.
A Parliamentary Task Force has been established to enable youngsters to have vital discussions with MPs around kinship care, and earlier this year a group of kin-kids from Liverpool went down to Westminster to have their voices heard by MPs and Lords and pave the way for policy change. The charity hopes National Kinship Carers Awareness Week will help them to further raise awareness.
A number of events will take place during the week including:
• Saturday 5th October – celebrating kinship carers with grandparents at Gulliver’s World • Monday 7th October, 10am to 2pm – coffee morning featuring chat, bingo and St Laurence’s School, Kirkby choir • Wednesday, 9th October, 6pm to 8pm – kin-kids celebration party from with food, cake, gaming bus, beauty bar and an entertainer • Thursday 10th October, 12pm – legal workshop on kinship care orders • Friday 11th October, 12pm to 3pm – high tea for kin carers – a celebration and a thank you to kinship carers for the dedication they show to their kin kids
All kinship carers are welcome to attend the activities at Ellergreen Community Centre on Ellergreen Road, Norris Green, L11 2RY.
Pauline Thornley, Project Co-ordinator for Kinship Carers Liverpool, said: “Our project supports the hidden number of carers out there who are supporting family members and keeping them out of local authority care.
“But kinship carers are often ill-prepared emotionally and financially – having extra mouths to house and feed, not to mention finding the energy required to rear young ones.
“And there is surprisingly little in the way of training, information and financial support available for these family members trying to raise other people’s children and give them the best start in life.
“We run courses and hold events and activities for both carers and young people, providing the support they need to help them through life’s challenges. We offer unique and tailor-made services that specifically address these families’ needs.”
Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, added: “We spend millions of pounds supporting children in kinship placements who are living with their family members subject to Special Guardianship Orders and Child Arrangement Orders.
“We know from experience that it is really beneficial for the children to have the continuity and comfort of being looked after by relatives, rather than being placed in care.”
“Kinship Carers Liverpool do amazing work and we are extremely grateful to them for the support that they provide to young people and carers. As we bid to become a UNICEF Child Friendly City it is important we support organisations such as this.”