21 October 2019

Committee learnt about Kinship Care success stories

Councillors learnt about the achievements of a team that provides support to Looked After Children during the latest Education and Children’s Services Committee meeting. 

There has been a dedicated Kinship Care team in Aberdeenshire since 2010, providing support to a network of Kinship Carers across the area.

A “kinship care” arrangement usually describes where a child, who is unable to live with their birth parents, is legally Looked After by the council but is living with friends or family.

The council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee heard of Kinship Carers’ successes when the team’s annual report was presented to committee members for consideration on Thursday, October 10. They were asked to consider the report and provide comments to the service, and to continue to support the service.

The Kinship Team has responsibility for assessing potential carers to ensure they will be able to meet the needs of the child(ren) they are going to look after.  The Team has also responsibility to support carers after the children are placed with them.   The majority of kinship care arrangements provide long-term and often permanent care for the children placed.  

The report that went before councillors highlights: “Of the 196 children and young people supported by kinship care throughout 2018, 96.5 per cent experienced stability in the arrangement. This is a hugely impressive statistic given how many children and young people placed with carers come from vulnerable and challenging earlier life experiences.”

Last year two young people started university degree courses, five young people started new jobs or apprenticeships and seven began college courses. All are living with their Kinship Carers.

Currently, there are 51 children who receive a monthly library book by post thanks to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which is partly funded by the Scottish Government.  The Kinship Care team also works closely with Early Years colleagues to ensure eligible two-year-olds in kinship and foster care are offered free nursery places. There are 26 children placed in nurseries in Aberdeenshire, each receiving up to 16 hours per week term-time.

The Council’s Family Firm has enabled young people to obtain work experience in their local communities. Placements such as these can build confidence and self-esteem in young people as well as preparing them for the world of work. 

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “The committee was really pleased to hear about the successes of Kinship Care in 2018. I would like to pass on my congratulations on the team’s tenth anniversary and thank all involved for the incredible work that they do.”

For more information about Kinship Care in Aberdeenshire please visit https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/kinship-care/