Earlier this week a Middlesbrough Kinship Carer, John, was part of a unique and historical day for kinship Care.
John is active in the local community in raising the profile of kinship care, he is an active member of the South Tees Carers Forum and has worked closely with We Care You Care to support local carers campaigns designed to increase understanding and recognition of kinship care both with the general public as well as with local services and organisations. John also plays a key role in the national charity Kinship's North East Kinship Campaign Group which has had huge successes securing meaningful improvements to signposting and support for kinship carers by influencing local and regional decision makers, including Directors of Children’s Services, service leads, MPs, Mayors and others.
On Tuesday 5 July, John and fellow Kinship Campaigner, Cath, made the trip to London to witness Munira Wilson, a Liberal Democratic MP for Twickenham, present in Parliament a request for a Kinship Care Act to be introduced. Munira called for a statutory definition of kinship care, education provision and provision about allowances and parental leave for kinship carers.
Munira gave a passionate and detailed ten-minute presentation to Parliament that focused on the difficulties kinship carers have to deal with and the lack of emotional, financial and practical support. Wilson told the story of a kinship carer who took responsibility for her dead sister’s child before being thanked for saving “a lot of time and money” but told that local authorities “have no legal obligation” to help aid the child’s medical care. Munira discussed the high number of children living in kinship care and how an increase in support would benefit the children's lives long-term and described kinship care as being the Cinderella of care service
This marked the very first stage of the Bill’s journey and Munira received no opposition to her ten-minute rule motion. This doesn’t create immediate change but is a great opportunity to increase support for and awareness of kinship care amongst MPs and to push the government ahead of their response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. 17 March 2023 was set as a time period for the next stage of the bill process to occur.
Tuesday was momentous, significantly because Munira Wilson read out moving life stories of Kinship carers and their highs and lows of bringing up Kinship Children.
There were a number of Kinship Carers including myself and Cath. Together we watched Minura Wilson deliver her address from the public gallery and we were all very aware that we were part of history in the making.
We had the opportunity to meet up with Munira Wilson prior to the reading and had the pleasure to speak briefly about Kinship and our personal experiences.
We also met up with other people that share our committment to creating positive changes for all kinship carers to be able to make informed choices, including several representatives from Family Rights and individuals who are represtative for Parliament. " John, Middlesbrough Kinship Carer.
This is a fantastic achievement and the start of a positive move forward for kinship carers across the country. If you are a kinship carer in the South Tees you can find out about the range of services that can support you as well as lots of useful information to help you understand some of the complexities and challenges involved: Kinship Carers.