National kinship care conference 2012: a review
Saturday 17 March 2012
On Monday 30 January 2012, delegates came to Perth for the first national kinship care conference. Delegates heard from a whole host of speakers including the CHILDREN 1ST Chief Executive Anne Houston and the Minister for Children & Young People, Aileen Campbell MSP.
Alice Drever: A celebration of kinship care
"Now there’s a new concept! I wonder how many kinship carers feel they have cause to celebrate? The “Keeping it in the Family” conference held in Perth was a celebration! Anne Houston warmly welcomed everyone, setting the scene for the day ahead.
"It was great to see so many kinship carers come along and I was encouraged to see that most councils had sent along representation. The success of kinship care was told by kinship carers themselves and this was heartening as we can all relate to the tiredness, the struggles to balance the books, and the frustration of a tantrum. It is seldom we hear how the children are blooming, doing well at school, communicating, looking well and happy because they are looked after by people who care about them.
"The role play session to highlight the kinship care helpline, gave out so much information. One important point they made was about ParentLine Scotland, who run the helpline. They let us know that it’s not just for parents but for kinship carers too.
"We smiled a lot, we even laughed a lot but as always when we hear the sadness in a child’s story we cry. That was true as we listened to stories from some children. Yet it was clear from them all that they felt safe, loved, looked after and fed and that is down their kin who care.
"I found the talk by Alison Todd and Georgina McKune most enlightening; I am sure many carers went home with lots of information which might help them in planning their care role.
"The four workshops: what we do differently and why, how to use the kinship care guide, the challenges of running a successful support group, and working with kinship carers to make change happen, gave everyone the opportunity to sign up to something that would interest or benefit them. Everyone that I spoke to felt that these workshops were a great way to mix with carers and join in.
"Having Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, there was a huge bonus, having questions taken and answered.
"The venue was central, pleasant and perfect. The lunch and comfort breaks were enjoyed by all.
"If for whatever reason you did not come, I say to you I am sorry you missed a very worthwhile day. You did not get the chance to share and meet with other carers, you did not enjoy the fellowship, and you did not get some excellent information. But there’s always next year!
"Thank you to CHILDREN 1ST for hosting and I am looking forward to hearing the feedback."
Tulip Rippingale, kinship carer
“I first met Jane Aldgate in 2006 at a conference in Glasgow just after her research on kinship care had been completed. I was delighted to see her again hosting the CHILDREN 1ST conference in Perth. I was also delighted to see how we have moved on since then, however, I realise we still have a long way to go. It is encouraging that CHILDREN 1ST is now joining us in the campaign for change for kinship children.
“The conference was a brilliant opportunity to mix with other kinship carers and hear their stories, which were both encouraging and heart rendering. It was a good opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other, gain knowledge about resources and information.
“The ‘Keeping it in the Family’ CHILDREN 1ST conference, was another step forward in raising the profile of kinship carers, help reinforce and strengthen policy and national messages about the importance of meeting the needs of children in kinship care.”
Anne Houston, Chief Executive, CHILDREN 1ST
“I was delighted to welcome everyone to our first national kinship care conference. It was great to see so many kinship carers from across Scotland and I was hugely encouraged by the number of people who came up to me to say how valuable it had been and how much they had enjoyed the day.
“A couple of highlights for me were hearing from Anne Proudfoot, Anne Swartz and Alice Drever about their positive experiences of kinship care. I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating the discussion on my table with kinship carers about the positive impact kinship care has had on the children they look after and was struck by the many powerful and honest experiences which were shared. The caring role clearly brings with it pride in the positive changes that can be made for the children, enjoyment and pleasure, along with, often very considerable, challenges.
“Finally, I want to reaffirm CHILDREN 1ST's commitment to kinship carers. We are here for the long haul. We, alongside kinship carers, will continue to work hard to ensure vulnerable children get the best start in life, that they don’t lose out on their childhoods, that they grow up feeling safe, secure, happy and healthy and have a brighter future to look forward to.”
Last updated: Tuesday 24 April 2012