>> 26 October 2010

Local Gordon MSP, Alex Salmond, has called for increased awareness among North East residents of the support available to ‘kinship carers’.

All across Aberdeenshire and Scotland, thousands of people care for children because their natural parents cannot do so for a variety of reasons. These carers are known as “kinship carers” and are often grandparents, aunts and uncles but can also be family friends. It is thought that there are more than 13,000 of them. Around 1 in 70 children in Scotland are estimated to be looked after, either formally or informally, by a kinship carer.

Citizens Advice Scotland’s latest report, “Relative Value,” is based on a sample of 368 kinship carers who called the kinship care helpline for advice. The report highlights that the majority of carers who called the helpline are aged between 45 and 59. The report also acknowledged that three quarters of the kinship carers were grandparents of the people in care.

Commenting on the report Mr Salmond said,

“Kinship carers play a remarkable and invaluable role in our community. For a whole host of reasons, there are many people in North East who take on the responsibility of caring for a child that is not their own.

"Kinship Carers offer these children support, love and encouragement, as well as the opportunity to lead a more balanced life.

“The Scottish Government and the Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux are working together to provide an advice and information service, including a dedicated helpline for kinship carers.

“I would encourage any kinship carer in this constituency to call the hotline if they fell under pressure or experience difficulty coping in any way.

“The Scottish Government and COSLA have agreed that by 2011, kinship carers of children who are “looked after” will receive an allowance from the local authority to ensure that they are treated in a similar way to foster carers.

"Anyone who wishes to contact the kinship carers hotline can call 0808 800 0006”

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