Kinship Care Week (5 – 11 October 2020)
Kinship Care Week aims to increase understanding and recognition of the role of kinship carers and the challenges they often face, but importantly, it’s also an opportunity to thank kinship carers for the incredible role they play in raising children.
What is kinship care?
Kinship care often begins with a family crisis, with a child whose parents are no longer able to care for them. When a loved one or known person steps in – a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or family friend – they become a kinship carer. There are over 200,000 children in kinship families across the UK.
Kinship care can be life changing and challenging for everyone involved. Plans, relationships, jobs and savings can change course, yet kinship carers do this by making the needs of the child a priority.
What do Together for Children offer?
The Connected Carers team within Together for Children work with family members and friends to assess them as connected carers and/or Special Guardians, and to support them in making any adjustments in order to care for children.
Alongside colleagues from our social work teams and other professionals, we ensure that carers – and the children they are caring for – are supported through the process of becoming a connected carer and/or Special Guardian. We complete post-Special Guardianship Order assessments to assess the current needs of the family and help to identify and signpost to available services and support, including training and support groups.
We are currently working with 12 families to help identify their support needs and to provide help and guidance.
We offer a range of services and support to all Together for Children approved connected carers and Special Guardians who live in Sunderland, as well as to families where a Special Guardianship Order was granted within the last three years, if living outside of Sunderland. This includes:
- Secure Base - The Secure Base Model is drawn from attachment theory and adapted to particularly promote stable attachments and resilience within Family membership, for children who are separated from their birth parents. The model includes five dimensions of caregiving, each of which is linked with a developmental benefit for the child. The dimensions overlap and combine with each other, to create a secure base for the child.
- Solihull - The therapeutic programme is based on the Solihull Approach to parenting and focuses on the carer/child relationship. It aims to support carers in building positive and responsive relationships with the children they care for.
- Family Time – This programme focusses upon the importance of Family Time, identifying the legislation connected to it, relating Family Time to the Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 (applicable to Connected Carers), and recognising the effects Family Time can have on children, their carers and others.
Signposting and referrals:
- National Association of Therapeutic Parenting – The Association support children who have suffered early life trauma and are able to provide support, education, and resources to carers and professionals, relating to therapeutic parenting, effective interventions, compassion fatigue and the effects of early life trauma.
- Kooth – an online mental wellbeing community, providing free and confidential support.
- The option to consider a consultation with a, Together for Children appointed, Clinical Child Psychologist.
- Kinship Response with Grandparents Plus, which is a national kinship care charity.
- Local support organisations and charities.
The Connected Carers Team have a handbook for connected carers, Special Guardians and kinship carers. If you would like a copy, or if you would like to discuss support for yourself or your family where a Special Guardianship Order is in place, please call our duty worker on 0191 561 5667.
Grandparents Plus and other local organisations are also celebrating #KinshipCareWeek – if you would like any more information, please contact us on the telephone number above.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page next week for more updates and stories about kinship care.