Grandparents to care for children on the cheap.

Grandparents and extended family are to be used as a cheaper alternative to foster carers. Does it not cost the same for grandparents to look after children as foster carers? We know grandparents have a special magic with children, but this is going too far.

Presently grandparents are being penalised for looking after their grandchildren because of love and to keep them in a home environment, often with no financial help or a mere social service handout and we have already reported of children living in poverty and grandparents running into huge debts to make ends meet.

Renfrewshire Director of Social Work Recommendations:

2. 2.1 Payments for Fostering Allowances is £345 rising to £353 per placement per week.

Renfrewshire Council admits (letter to community and Family Policy Board on 20th December 2005) Revised Operational Guidance : Kinship Carers.

3.2 “it is predominately grandparents who take on the care of children.”

3.3 Over time this arrangement has proved to be successful in supporting children coming into the care of the Local Authority. The revised scheme continues on these bases as it fulfils the requirements of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. that the council support families to discharge their parental responsibilities. It also avoids the Council in the far greater expense of accommodating a child in foster care or a residential setting which is considerably more expensive.

3.7 The level of payment made to carers who benefit from the schemes operated by Renfrewshire and other Councils has been subjected to challenge. Renfrewshire Council rates are age related and range from £ 21.89 to £43.78 per week. Renfrewshire Social Work (complaints Review) Appeals panel dealt with a complaint where the key argument concerned whether related carers should receive the same level of allowance as a foster carer would for caring for a child.

A similar argument was presented in judicial challenge to South Lanarkshire Councils Scheme. Neither challenge was successful and the proceedings have confirmed that the status of related carers is different from that of foster carers.

The Scottish Executive have written in the “Charter for Grandchildren” grandparents are to be recognised for the role they can play in their grandchildren’s lives. But! Still, our children lose out on the legal protection of their grandparents. This is reflected in the way we are treated. Like second class Citizens.

Older people now have the voting power to be listened to. The authorities are saying nice things about grandparents just now (Lip Service) don’t be taken in by smooth talk. Demand rights to our grandchildren. Demand equal payment as carers. Demand the respect the authorities robbed you of. Threaten to withdraw your grey vote. So write your MPs or MSPs for that recognition we deserve now!

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