Gran helps win kinship carer fight

Kinship carers won a victory in their fight for better recognition and financial support.

The Public Petitions Committee agreed to take up their case and ask the Scottish Government and Westminster to consider action to provide adequate support.

Their petition calls for Kinship carers to be included in decision-making and calls for the same status as Foster Carers, with access to financial support and social services for coping with the children in their care.

The committee heard from Jessie Harvey, a Glasgow grandmother who has been caring for her grandson for six years. Her son and his partner were unable to take care of their baby due to drug addiction and Mrs Harvey took over responsibility.

She said: “They couldn’t look after him. They tried, but couldn’t do it.

“Social work told me my grandson was at risk and asked would I take him. I said yes without hesitation.

“I had to wait a year before I received any benefits for him. This happens to most kinship carers.

“The barriers and the stress it causes are horrendous. Our generation is sweeping this issue under the carpet and saying’ they’re grannies; they’ll do it’.

“We will, but we should be getting the same services and financial help that is out there for others.”

The committee heard there are different rates of financial support in different councils, with some accused of agreeing to pay, but then not doing so.

Mrs Harvey said in Glasgow the payment is £40 a week, which she said was the lowest in Scotland, and once payments start many are denied any social work support as the child is taken off supervision orders.