Other important research

Research in Scotland

The following are studies of family and friends care in Scotland, which is formally known there as kinship care.

Keith Dryburgh (2010) Relative Value - The experiences of kinship carers using the Scottish CAB Service (Citizens Advice Scotland). This is an analysis of kinship carers who approached Citizens Advice Scotland’s helpline or visited a bureaux for advice, and proposes solutions to remedy the problems that these carers experienced. The study also provides an estimate of the number of children living in kinship care arrangements in Scotland as being 13,444. This figure was reached using the Scottish household survey and the known figures for children in formal kinship arrangements. The recommendations include: recognition that support needs for carers of non-looked after children are often the same as when the children are looked after; improved respite care; improved practical and emotional support, including counselling, for carers and children; assistance with maintaining or establishing support groups; training for practitioners working with kinship carers; access to clear and easy information and independent advice; and no barriers to family and friends care if it is in the best interests of the child.

Jane Aldgate and Miranda McIntosh (2006) Looking after the family: a study of children looked after in kinship care in Scotland (Social work inspection agency). This influential study brought the issue of family and friends care to the fore in Scotland. It is based on a survey of national policies and practices for children looked after in kinship care across the 32 local authorities in Scotland, and an intensive study of 30 children living with 24 kinship families in five local authorities. The report strongly emphasises the benefits to children of being in a kinship placement, but also shows that these placements are often not well supported. The report makes recommendations to improve the situation, including: making a new category of ‘looked after in kinship care’, to recognise the distinctiveness of this arrangement from other types of placement for children; payment of a basic fostering allowance for kinship children; improved social work awareness; improved support systems; developing an appropriate assessment model; a framework to support kinship carers’ understanding of and transition to their role; and improved social work training.