Middlesbrough Kinship Carers Conference, Helen Moody Kinship Care Solicitor had her say…
Wednesday 27th September 2017
I was honoured to be asked to speak at the Middlesbrough Kinship Carers Conference on Wednesday 27th September. Middlesbrough Kinships Carers is a support group set up to provide information and support to kinship carers in its area, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters caring for their child relatives.
The carers in attendance all had varying degrees of Social Services involvement in their lives. Some carers had limited involvement whilst others had more substantial and prolonged involvement. However, the carers all had something in common; they felt unsupported and let down by their local Council and often, the Government in not recognising that they too, require support just like foster carers.
Together with Grandparents Plus, Relative Experience, Mind and other organisations including local health workers and a benefits advisor, the day was set up to celebrate and recognise the role of kinship carers in the area. It was good to hear that so many organisations and individuals have the same aim; to recognise the sacrifices that kinship carers make and work together to support them in their roles as “parents” for these children.
It was a pleasure to speak alongside these people and to listen to what work these organisations are doing in the Middlesbrough area for kinship carers. Even beyond that, it was amazing to see what kinship carers are doing themselves to get the Government to understand what challenges are faced by them nationally.
If you are a kinship carer who has been advised by your Local Council to obtain an Order for a child placed in your care, please ensure that you seek independent legal advice first. Despite what the Council may tell you, it is your right to take legal advice so that you are fully informed of the implications of the different types of placements and support available to you. All too often I see clients who were only advised on one option which has ultimately led to them accepting an Order which offers little or no support.
It is important that kinship carers know that they are not alone and that asking for support does not mean that they cannot care for the children.
Ridley & Hall are the leading firm in this area of law and act on behalf of kinship carers up and down the Country. We are planning a Kinship Carers Training Event in the North East early next year.