Kinship care: the older workforce report and event

When kinship carers take on the care of a child they face major changes; one these is how to combine caring for a child with employment. Parenting across Scotland, as part of its work with Family Friendly Working Scotland, has been researching the challenges which kinship carers face in getting or keeping work, and what employers can do to help.

Kinship carers take on the care of a relative or friend's child. Often this is unexpected and at short notice in an emergency; often it is not clear whether this is a temporary arrangement or one which will become permanent. A kinship carer usually has to make huge adjustments at short notice: to settle the child, and make practical arrangements, such as getting legal orders; dealing with social work; and sorting out housing and education issues. After this initial period, looking after a vulnerable child presents certain challenges, and the kinship carer may have numerous appointments with social work, education and others. As well as the obvious stress of this, it makes it difficult to hold down or find a job.

So to find out more, PAS commissioned Scotinform to conduct research with kinship carers through three focus groups in Inverclyde, Midlothian and Moray and a follow-up questionnaire.

The subsequent report notes significant work-related issues for kinship carers including:

  • Stress
  • Stigma - often resulting in kinship carers not revealing their new responsibilities to their employer
  • Flexibility
  • Childcare
  • Difficulties in getting time off for appointments

The report also identifies good practice by employers, and makes recommendations about how employers can treat kinship carers to ensure that they retain valuable members of their workforce who take on caring responsibilities.

Download the report here

See more on CARE for kinship carers