LIVERPOOL has become the first area in the country to launch a charter setting out how it will support kinship carers.
The Kinship Charter Liverpool has been written by Kinship Carers Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool City Council with both carers, children and young people sharing their experiences to develop the framework.
Kinship carers look after a child or young person for another family member or a family friend; it is sometimes also known as family and friends care, connected care, relative care or kincare. It is estimated that there are about 180,000 children in the UK being looked after in a kinship family.
Liverpool has taken a human rights-based approach to supporting kinship carers, and this forms the basis of the new charter.
The charter states that kinship families need:
Legal advice and representation
To be listened to and to be included in the decision-making process
Professionals to recognise kinship carers’ unique needs.
The charter was signed on behalf of the council by Cllr Frazer Lake, Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and cabinet member for children’s social care, at an official launch event on Friday, 17 March. West Derby MP Ian Byrne, a member of the cross-party parliamentary taskforce on kinship care, also attended the event.
Cllr Frazer Lake, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and cabinet member for children’s social care, said: “Kinship carers are very often our unsung heroes, not only because they care for children and young people, but because they help to keep family units together.
“The new charter, which is a national first, clearly sets out what kinship carers can rightly expect from the council and from other services which might be commissioned, respecting the role they play in caring for and supporting children who may often be vulnerable.
“I’d like to thank Kinship Carers Liverpool for leading on the development of the charter and, above all, for all the carers and the children and young people who shared their experiences and expertise to bring this important document into being.”
Pauline Thornley, project co-ordinator, Liverpool Kinship Carers, said: “Liverpool leads the way in supporting kinship families. We are proud to have developed this charter which will enable our families to be supported in navigating the very complex area of kinship care.
“Being the first city in the country to adopt a charter is a proud moment for all those families who have endlessly campaigned over the years to bring about change The important part for us now is to work alongside professionals so that we implement these changes, which will result in better outcomes for our young people.”
Ian Byrne, MP for West Derby and member of the cross-party parliamentary taskforce on kinship care, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with Pauline and team from Kinship Carers Liverpool in reaching this fantastic result which will benefit kinship families in Liverpool and beyond.
“The charter is a first, made in Liverpool by the determination of Pauline, her team and the kinship families plus a special mention to the council officers involved as well as Mayor Joanne Anderson and her team who worked in collaboration to achieve last week’s launch.
“I look forward to highlighting this achievement nationally with all involved and using it as a template for kinship to roll out to other local authorities. All involved should be as proud as I am in this ground-breaking achievement for kinship carers and their families which has been built in Liverpool.”