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New support group launched to help kinship carers in Scotland

The Scottish Kinship Care Alliance has been set up to help carers who feel they are being “discriminated”.

Top carers sought for care awards

A new national support group has been launched to help people who look after their relatives.

The Scottish Kinship Care Alliance has been set up to help carers who feel they are being “discriminated” by the lack of funding available.

They say not receiving the same allowances as foster carers, saves the taxpayer £40,000 per child.

It is estimated that more than 15,000 children are being brought up by relatives in Scotland.

The figures were revealed in a study published by Buttle UK and the University of Bristol.

Anne Marie Peffer, Buttle UK's Scotland manager, said: "We have seen over recent years how informal kinship carers are under a vast amount of pressure.

“Despite taking on a huge burden from the state by caring for children who would otherwise end up in the care system, informal kinship carers and the children they look after are still an overlooked group who experience high levels of poverty and disadvantage with little or no statutory support.

“It is remarkable that we have a situation in the UK whereby the provision of such support is not related in any way to children's needs or backgrounds or to the financial situation of the carers.

“This is what Buttle UK is committed to change with the recommendations from this critical piece of research.”

University of Bristol Professor Elaine Farmer added: "Informal kinship carers make a major contribution to providing children with security and stability and saves the state from the considerable costs of foster or residential placements.

“It is a matter of concern that carers' attempts to get services for needy children are sometimes summarily dismissed by statutory services, adding to the strain they are under. Government guidance, that support should be based on the needs of the child rather than their legal status, is not being followed."

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