Kinship care is by no means a new phenomenon but a practice that has been ongoing for centuries; where a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling takes over the full time care of the child as the parents are unable to. At this time there are an estimated 20,000 kinship carers across Scotland.
Many of these arrangements are due to death or family breakdown so children in kinship care often have complex needs. They are then placed with elderly relatives who in turn also need support and practical assistance in caring for the children.
Over the last 6 years Mentor has worked closely with kinship carers across Scotland and Europe and has led a number of projects that has explored how to support kinship carers and their families. In order to take this work forward Mentor are pleased to announce Families Together a new project that is taking our previous work with kinship carers to the next stage.
Over the next year we aim to work with kinship carers and their families across Edinburgh following our work in East and Midlothian since July 2012. We will explore the issues for each family and deliver a support plan to address those needs, putting the families in touch with the right services, and perhaps even more importantly each other.
We are aware of the impact that a child’s home life can have on their ability to achieve their full potential in school and so this project aims to work with children and their families to create sustainable interventions which will target areas such as behaviour, communication, parenting and education.
For the children, we will be providing support, peer group support, activities, workshops and residential weekends. For the kinship carers, we will be providing a range of person-centred support including one to one support, peer support groups, financial information and advice, training courses and workshops and respite. We will also be organising outings for the whole family.
If you are aware of any pupils from kinship care families who may need additional support then we would ask if you could provide them or their carer with a leaflet detailing our service.
We happy to accept referrals from schools or kinship carers themselves. To make a referral, please contact 0131 334 8512 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information please also visit our website www.mentoruk.org.uk
Please find enclosed leaflets about the project and feel free to distribute them to staff, pupils and their carers. For more information about the project, please contact our family support workers, Marion Inglis, Yvonne Ramsay or Liz Johnston at Mentor on 0131 334 8512.