COMMUNITY groups supporting Scotland’s kinship carers are being celebrated during this year’s Kinship Care Week.

Kinship carers are family and friends who step in to care for children who can no longer live with their parents.

The Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland (KCASS) has organised Kinship Care week, an event dedicated to offering emotional support and advice.

Community support groups help with feelings of loneliness and isolation by giving carers people to talk to who have things in common with them.

Members of the support groups described them as a “lifeline”, and KCASS is now calling on local authorities to offer support to agencies and carers in those areas who wish to set up their own groups.

Susan Hunter, KCASS project co-ordinator, said: “This year, our communities’ officer has been fortunate to visit groups throughout Scotland, meeting and listening to kinship carers who tell us how necessary these groups are.

“They also say that in areas with no groups operating, there should be support for local agencies or for kinship carers to establish a much-needed support group.

“This Kinship Care Week, KCASS are encouraging kinship care groups to take part in their own local community and celebrate their kinship families where children are loved, safe and happy.

“They can do this by running small or large events, having some fun and encouraging other kinship carers to come along and reap the many benefits of being part of these marvellous groups.”

KCASS has been operated by Adoption UK in Scotland since 2020 and has since started more than 60 successful support groups.

Children and Young People Minister Clare Haughey said: “Kinship Care Week provides us with an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the important role our kinship carers play in providing loving, secure, stable and nurturing homes for children and young people.

“The support local care groups provide to our kinship families is not only a safe space for carers, it also creates a safe environment for children and young people to connect with their peers who may have similar experiences.”

Kinship care week runs from March 13-17.