Apparently this is blogging – another new skill I have gained since becoming a kinship carer. I’ve learned so many skills since I started raising my cousin’s little boy, including how to care for a child with foetal alcohol syndrome, how to navigate the family law system and, not least, campaigning.
Kinship carers are relatives or friends who are raising children who cannot be cared for by their parents. June is the Grandparents Plus Month of Action when kinship carers across the country will be raising awareness about just how valuable we are to the children of this country.
We’ve already been lobbying people of importance in government. We persuaded Ministerial Advisor on Adoption, Martin Narey, to meet us after his speech at the Community Care Live conference for social workers. He kept his promise, firstly by supporting kinship care in his speech, and then by listening to our issues afterwards in a compassionate way. He even agreed to read “The Paula Report” which I wrote in answer to his “Narey Report” on adoption. This is just one of the ways us kinship carers have had to learn campaigning skills to get our voices heard.
Now we are into June and the Month of Action. On 12th June, 40 kinship carers from all over England will have the chance to lobby government at a national summit. Without us children would be sucked into a care system which is already under immense pressure and struggling to cope. I am proud to be able to represent carers on such an important day.
Then on 30th June there’ll be chance for kinship children and their carers to get together, at a theme park, and realise that they are not alone, that there are other children who live with their “Nannie” or “Granddad”, “Auntie” or “Uncle”, brother or sister. I hope the British weather will be kind and the only wet clothes will be from the water slides!
When I first became a kinship care, I had no idea that a whole new life would open up for me. I have met the most amazing people and more importantly learnt that together you are stronger. We have all achieved so much – but there is so much left to achieve. For me I would like to see kinship carers sitting on placement panels for kinship care cases, a national set amount for special guardianship allowance, and for this allowance to be awarded using a standard means test used by every local authority. These are my dreams and I hope through campaigning I can help make them a reality. What are your dreams and hopes for us? What will you be doing to realise them?
Get involved in the Month of Action here!