The agenda for this meeting focused on the impact of coronavirus on kinship care families. (e.g keeping carers safe, contact with birth parents, finance, supporting children).
- Update on kinship carer’s concerns – including Grandparents Plus kinship carer consultations, advice service and programmes insight; feedback from local authorities
- Update on adoption support fund, policy and practice guidance – an opportunity to share issues or concerns from a practice perspective
- Discussion on key issues and resource share
- Frequency and format of future meetings.
Powerpoint Presentation – Impact of Coronavirus on Kinship Care families
Sources of Financial Support
Carers are worried about finances and the changes to financial support are complicated and hard to understand, particularly on top of the responsibility of more intensive parenting. Accessing information about financial aid is challenging and carers feel that it is not always clear what grants they can access; meaning they may not ask for help. In addition, there is little to no consistency in local authorities’ approach to general social work practice let alone more specialist ways of working. Click here for more information Government announces funding for local authorities to commission special guardianship support services during coronavirus crisis.
Guidance for Kinship Carers with Contact Arrangements
Everyone is having to make decisions to ensure their own safety as well as that of their family at the moment and this can be especially difficult for kinship carers. Many are in the extremely vulnerable group. Others are caring for children without a legal order. Many have to also arrange and supervise contact between the children and their parents.
Having considered the Government advice, as well as feedback from our kinship care community, Grandparents Plus suggests that where contact arrangements can safely continue then they should. However, we also believe ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the children, carers, parents and the wider community is essential. Therefore, Grandparents Plus are advising kinship carers and special guardians that if the care of the children is shared between kinship carers and parents, and involves overnight stays that are unsupervised, then the normal care arrangements should continue as long as it is safe for all involved. However, if the kinship carer, parent, or child is in a group vulnerable to the coronavirus, then we are advising that regardless of normal arrangements, contact should be suspended until the current restrictions are lifted. If contact does not involve an overnight stay, no matter where it is held, then we are advising that face-to-face contact should be suspended until the current restrictions are lifted.
If there is any disagreement between the kinship carers and parents about contact during this time then advice should be sought from the local authority straight away.
We also recommend where contact has to be suspended due to the coronavirus, kinship carers and parents try to be creative in using alternative contact methods. These could include, emails, face time or video chat, a telephone call or even writing a letter.
Redcar social workers keeping in touch with children
To ensure that those children didn’t feel forgotten, some of the Redcar social workers have been sending postcards to some of the children in their care, such a thoughtful and lovely gesture made the most incredible difference and brightened up many people’s days. If you have been doing anything creative to keep busy or in contact, please let us know so we can keep sharing!