Celebrating Kinship Carers
A programme of support is to be launched this week in South Tyneside for kinship carers who step in to care for the children of family members or friends when their parents can't.
The support package is being launched as part of Kinship Care Week which runs until 8 October.
The support offer includes regular supervision and support from a social worker as well as preparation training for kinship carers. The training will include the expectations of a Kinship Carer and discuss a variety of issues such as family dynamics, the importance of facilitating family time and the different types of legal orders that can be made.
A training handbook has also been developed to support before, during and after the training.
Kinship carers will also be offered therapeutic support and advice from a mental health specialist, peer support groups and support with applications to pay for essential therapeutic services that will support the stability of the child or young person they are caring for.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children's and Families' Social Care, said: "Our kinship carers do an incredible job caring for our children and young people when their parents can't, often keeping family units together.
"This new package of support is further evidence of how much we value these carers. We know how challenging the role can be and we are committed to doing all we can to support them.
"This week is the perfect opportunity to highlight the fantastic work they do and recognise the enormous contribution they make in providing love and stability for our children and young people.
"Thank you to all our kinship carers for all that they do."
Emma Cairns, 33, of Horsley Hill in South Shields, is a kinship carer for an 11-year-old girl.
"We had a family connection and the child already knew me and my home so kinship care seemed like the right solution," said Emma.
"Being in a home that was neutral for her has enabled her to maintain and progress parental relationships. The progress she has made has far outweighed the challenges."
Although the child is to go and live full-time with her dad again, Emma will continue to be on hand to support him.
Emma, a social worker with North Tyneside Council, added: "The Council gives you a supervising social worker who provides you with emotional support. Having someone who is there just for you is very beneficial. Going forward, I think the enhanced support offer will be very helpful."
To mark Kinship Care Week, and recognise the incredible roles played by kinship carers, a celebratory event was held at Ocean Road Community Centre.
As part of the week, people are encouraged to #DoOneThing to raise awareness and keep kinship care in the spotlight. This could include telling a friend about the week, sharing information about support for kinship carers or celebrating the week with a tea party. To find out more visit www.kinship.org.uk