Demographic: kinship carers and their children
Delivery setting: communities
Years active: 2012 – present
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: kinship care; families; communities; Scotland
Theory of Change for Families Together
- Families Together provides individual personalised support, information, advice and peer group opportunities for kinship carers and young people they care for.
- This improves relationships within the family, builds confidence and resilience while reducing isolation.
- In the longer-term this enables kinship families to be more positively integrated within the community enabling them to reach their full potential.
A project to support kinship care families
Across the UK there are many thousands of children and young people being cared for by family members – kinship carers. Reliable estimates suggest that around 70% of kinship carers are looking after children because of parental drug and alcohol problems.
Since 2004, Mentor has led projects to identify the different needs of kinship care families and the ways in which carers and children can be better supported in the community. Families Together is funded by the Big Lottery.
About the project
Families Together builds on the work of Mentor’s EU-funded kinship care project, completed in March 2011, which resulted in a richer understanding of kinship carers’ needs in Scotland, a comprehensive toolkit for financial and legal rights, and enabled Mentor to develop key relationships with statutory services and existing support networks.
The project takes this work to the next stage, helping to build emotional resilience and better family relationships among kinship care families. The project is structured to refine a sustainable, evidence-based model of support that can be readily adopted by all 32 local authorities in Scotland.
From 2012 to 2015 we worked with 227 families in East Lothian, Midlothian and Edinburgh. Our team adopts a family-centred approach, exploring the individual issues for each family and drawing up a plan to meet their needs, linking families with external services and, perhaps more importantly, with each other through peer support networks.
I just felt so lost, I didn’t know who to turn to until I found out about Mentor.a kinship carer supported by Families Together
Continuing our work (2015 – 2018)
Mentor received continuation funding from the Big Lottery in September 2015. This will enable Families Together to continue supporting kinship care families in Edinburgh and surrounding areas for the next three years, and to develop the project on the base of established relationships with carers, practical experience and research findings.
Supporting children and young people
Families Together has expanded its youth work provision to offer more opportunities for children and young people in kinship care. As well as offering residential outings and other one-off events, our team of dedicated Youth Workers design and organise a range of activities – from youth groups and after-school clubs to one-to-one support – designed to build young people’s confidence and self-esteem.
Supporting kinship carers
Our team of Family Support Workers offer tailored one-to-one support, assisting carers in managing and resolving any issues relating to their role as a kinship carer. The project continues to support existing peer groups and to encourage the development of new groups in areas where there is no local support. We also trial new creative approaches to engage with new groups of carers, such as satellite clinics and drop-in sessions, to ensure that the project is accessible for all.
Working in partnership
Families Together adopts a holistic approach to kinship care support, working with and alongside local community organisations, local authorities and charities. We deliver projects in partnership, allowing greater impact on the lives of children and families; we work closely with other organisations so that families can access the services they need; and we offer a range of training to ensure that both carers and practitioners have access to the right information and expertise.
Are you a kinship carer looking for information? Access our Information for Kinship Carers page for more information and free resources, including toolkits, guides, and project reports.
Do you work with kinship carers? Access our Resources page for guidance on prevention in community settings.
For the latest updates on the Families Together project, please check our blog.
To find out more about our work with kinship carers, please contact email@example.com.
Get involved – Mentor Scotland is always looking for volunteers. Click here for information.