The news that a third of English upper tier councils have still not drafted a Kinship policy is upsetting the son of a shoe maker. Edward Timpson is a son of the fifth generation owner of the Timpsons shoe and key cutting empire and also the MP for Crewe and Nantwich. He is also the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education and his department has responsibility for ensuring that these policies are provided. As part of his election following the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody Edward was charecterised as a toff and it is a label that certainly can be made to fit. His constituency is a near neighbour to that of George Osborne and Edward attending an Independent School and one of the top Universities. However Uppingham and Durham are certainly not Eton and Oxford. Apart from his departmental responsibilities, Edward may well feel a personal affinity for this particular policy area, according to Wikipedia Edwards parents have fostered over 80 children.
If the parental relationship has broken down, kinship care should be the most natural way of caring for children wherever the relationship is appropriate and the will is in evidence. However as a Grandmother explained to a meeting I attended recently, the truth is that often kinship carers are seen as part of the problem, not a potential solution by many of the professional caring agencies. I had the privilege to attend the 10th Anniversary of CUPP (Community and University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton) celebrations and one of the most interesting parts of the evening the publication of the Kinship Carers Resource. It appears that although there are many resources available to help those adopting and foster carers where there is no familial relationship, that very little exists for kinship carers, particularly that has been written by people who have experienced the process for themselves.
I hope that Edward Timpson is aware of this great resource and that before he commissions other Universities to produce resources, that he will look carefully at this book. The great thing is that it has been produced by five kinship carers and even the academic who was responsible for the project is a Grandmother. Most of all I hope that Edward Timpson gets a chance to meet these five fantastic carers, Colin, Loretta, Martha, Mary and Sarah. So come on @CuppBrighton send a copy to the Minister for Children!