Children living in kinship care arrangements are set to benefit from a pilot project to be delivered by Adoption UK Scotland and Association for Fostering, Kinship and Adoption (AFKA) Scotland, called Foundations for Families. The new initiative will enable kinship families to access therapeutic support and will provide a dedicated education worker who can advise kinships families whose children are struggling at school. Funding from the Scottish Government’s Whole Family Wellbeing Fund will provide this additional support for kinship families in four local authority areas over two years. 

Around 4,400 children in Scotland are in kinship care, defined as being looked after by a relative or family friend when their own parents are unable to care for them. Kinship care provides children with emotional security, stability and a sense of identity, and can enable children to remain close to their families, schools and wider community. 

AUK Scotland and AFKA Scotland co-deliver the Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland (KCASS), which provides advice and support to kinship families. Over the past year, the service has seen increasing numbers of calls to its helpline from carers struggling to access much-needed help. Foundations for Families aims to provide the right support at the right time to kinship families. The project also aims to speed up the identification of at-need families in order to deliver help as quickly as possible.  

The pilot will be strengthened by external evaluation and will be informed by the voices of young people participating in AUK Scotland’s engagement-led #EProject. Invaluable input has also been given by the Kinship Care Advisory Group, who have helped inform the project through their lived experiences of kinship care. 

Fiona Aitken, AUK Scotland director, said: “Through our community engagement we have heard extensively from kinship carers about the need for additional support for their families. This, with critical input from our advisory group, has evidenced the need for development of therapeutic support services specifically for kinship care families, and we are delighted that the investment from the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund will support this pilot project enabling us to do that. We’ll be working closely with kinship carers and partners to shape and evaluate the delivery model to ensure that this service provides much needed support for families in Scotland.”  

Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said: “Whole Family Wellbeing Funding, with an investment of £500 million over the course of the Parliament, focuses on early intervention and prevention and aims to ensure that families, including kinship carers, can get access to the help they need, where and when they need it. Projects like this and many others taking place across Scotland will help to Keep the Promise.”