Kinship Carers (Parental Responsibility Agreements) Bill
June 9, 2011
I am absolutely delighted to see kinship care receiving the attention it deserves following the introduction of the ‘Kinship Carers (Parental Responsibility Agreements) Bill put forward by Labour MP, Kerry McCarthy in the House of Commons a few days ago.
There are an estimated 200,000 children being raised by grandparents and other relative carers in the UK, and yet many of these carers feel powerless and confused when making decisions about the day to day care and upbringing of their relatives children.
The use of Parental Responsibility Agreements, if introduced, would allow parents to transfer parental responsibility to relatives in relation to specific issues, ie taking children on holiday, signing school consent forms and authorising medical and dental treatment, while reducing the need for relatives to go through the lengthy and costly process of obtaining a Residence Order granting them parental/joint parental responsibility. The use of such Agreements would also allow relative carers to claim benefits for the children in their care since many kinship carers receive no financial support whatsoever for the children they look after.
The Kinship Carers (Parental Responsibility Agreement) Bill which is due to receive a second reading in October 2011 is being supported by a number of charities and MP’s in England, including Alan Johnson who was raised by his sister after his mother died.
I only hope MPs in Northern Ireland recognise the merits of this Bill and look to develop something of a similar nature for kinship carers in Northern Ireland.
Watch 10 Minute Rule Bill http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9506000/9506080.stm