A forum of 150 kinship carers and workers today is calling for more children in state care to have a fair go at living with family and kin. The Ways Forward for Kids with Kin: Kinship Care Forum III says grandparents, relatives and other kin need strong support to care for children unable to live with their own parents for a time.
The forum comes during Queensland Child Protection Week and coincides with commitments made by the Queensland Government to increase kinship care and reduce the number of children in residential care.
Grandparents and other older kinship carers make an important contribution to today’s forum. Many older kinship carers have returned to parenting for a second time so their grandchildren can stay living with family and not in the care of strangers.
“‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’ is the theme of Queensland’s Child Protection Week this year,” says Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director of PeakCare.
“We’re saying kinship carers need a strong support system that meets their needs so they can provide the best possible care for children living with them. They need a fair go at receiving the quality of care they are entitled to.
“PeakCare applauds the Government’s commitment to increasing kinship care because it usually produces better outcomes for children. But this only happens when it is supported properly and well. That starts with listening much more closely to what kinship carers need and responding to the voices of children themselves.
“There are many reasons children enter state care. In addition to what these children have already experienced, their removal from their parents’ care is deeply traumatising. This can be eased if children live with family who are already known to them. It won’t make the impact of this trauma disappear, but it will help.
“Kinship carers need support understanding the trauma children have been through and how they can best help their healing and recovery. This means skilled child protection staff supporting and working closely with kinship carers.
“Wherever possible children’s parents need to be included as a united team that places children at the centre. That’s what is needed to give these children a fair go,” says Lindsay.
Ways Forward for Kids with Kin: Kinship Care Forum III
9.30am – 3 pm
Merthyr Rd Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm
11.30 am - vision opportunities
12 pm – doorstop & one-on-one interviews with kinship carers
Lindsay Wegener, PeakCare Executive Director, 0437 726 192
Mark Jeffery, media, 0419 732 583