Kinship Carers- Home-Start Dundee
A story by Home-Start Dundee
We provided twice weekly group sessions to Kinship Carers and their pre-school children in Dundee providing them with the opportunity to share ideas and advice with other Kinship Carers whilst children were looked after in our crèche.
We also provided information sessions by professionals on relevant issues. Kinship Carers were also offered buddying and mentoring support through a home-visiting volunteer.
What Kinship Carers- Home-Start Dundee did
We recruited a Co-ordinator and a Group worker, the Co-ordinator was responsible for promoting the service and assessing and reviewing the needs of the referred Kinship Carers. Referrals were made by Social Workers and other Kinship Groups, together with self-referrals. Our Group worker recognised that the Carers required small nurture groups to ensure their needs were met and capped attendance to 6 Kinship carers per session and these were held in blocks during school term time.
The Carers were very involved in the creation of the programme of events ensuring these were beneficial to them. During the Group sessions Kinship Carers received information and advice from professionals around Benefits, managing money, health, child development and drugs. These were offered as a group session but also as one to one sessions if required.
The Kinship Carers helped a Fairer Scotland Project through a focus group to discuss issues around poverty. The NHS POST (Paediatric Overweight Service Tayside) also involved the Kinship Carers to assist them in the development of their Healthier Families Project. Whilst the Kinship Carers were taking part in these information sessions the children were looked after in the creche and took part in various age-related activities.
The ADAPT team worked with her to ensure she received all her entitlements, many of which she was unaware of and was not in receipt of. She was entitled to money back and this enabled her to fix up her house, pay off some debts and take her grandchild on holiday. Her self-esteem and self-confidence have increased enabling her to take on employment and she is now enjoying her life with her grandchild.
Jane felt that she had not developed a strong attachment between her and her grandchild and we carried out various activities to promote this such as reading and singing. We also promoted stress management through discussion and relaxation techniques. Jane is feeling more informed, less stressed and more able to cope.
We encouraged and supported Jennifer and another Carer to meet with the course leader of the Child-minding Course at the local college. We facilitated the meeting and Jennifer started her course with support from us. She has now completed this and is now registering as a child-minder. She feels much more in control of her life and has also widened her social networks.
What Home-Start Dundee has learnedThis opportunity has enabled us to put together a package of information for Kinship Carers and has created mentors for new Carers who may come along in the future.
We recognised early on in the Project that we needed to build a trusting relationship with the referred Carers as many were apprehensive about divulging information which they perceived would question their ability to look after the child in their care. We also recognised that they benefited from a small nurture group rather than a large group. This restricted the number of carers we could support and we did not meet the set target, however we feel that we would not have had the same positive impact if we had supported the carers in the way we had originally planned.
Kinship carers who have been supported by us have promoted our service through word of mouth and encouraged others to self-refer.