There are hundreds of kinship carers in Fife, but unless you are one, the chances are that you won’t even know what one is!
But a new support group which has just started up in Dysart is aiming to make that a thing of the past by raising awareness of the role of kinship carers and providing the help and support its members need.
Kinship carers are grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles or close family friends who have taken on the care of a child who is not their own.
And every day more and more people are finding themselves in the role, some involuntarily, for a variety of reasons, the death of a family member, illness, family break-ups, inability to cope and many others.
The Lang Toun Kinship Carers has been created by a group of women caring for family members, and they are keen to attract others along to join them.
“Looking after a child which is not your own can be an extremely difficult thing to do,” explained Burntisland grandmother Jean Paxton, who along with Tracy Ogilvie and Lynne Proctor are behind the group’s formation.
“The children often come from turbulent home situations and may also have behavioural difficulties, while the carers themselves will undoubtedly have their own lives turned upside down, both physically and financially.
“Many of us have had to give up work to care for the youngsters, and it can be a real challenge sometimes.
“It’s not always easy, but it is always worthwhile, and most of us wouldn’t change it for the world.”
The new group is currently seeking funding to help it get up and running – to help pay for hall hire and toys for the youngsters who attend with their carers.
It takes place on Tuesdays from 9.30-11.30 a.m. at the Dysart Centre, 43 High Street, and any kinship carer is welcome to share experiences, get information and socialise with people in the same boat. For more information call 07786 148516.
What is kinship care?
If a looked after child cannot remain with their birth parents they can be placed by a local authority in the care of family or friends, for either a short or long period of time.
Under the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009, these ‘kinship carers’ are defined as “a person who is related to the child (through blood, marriage or civil partnership) or a person with whom the child has a pre-existing relationship”.