Dec 4 2008 By Frank Hurley
HUNDREDS of Glasgow's kinship carers are better off thanks to a two-year campaign by The Glaswegian.
The campaign's success has come in time for our 1000th issue and highlights what this newspaper has been all about since its birth in 1989 - helping Glasgow folk get a better life and record local events in the city.
Glasgow City Council has agreed a formula to pay an allowance of s40 per week per child for "looked after" children being brought up by elderly kinship carers.
Nearly two years ago our readers had not heard of the dire straights of grandparents raising their grand children - many with only their state pensions to spend. The elderly had taken over the role of parents, largely because the children's parents were unfit through illness, alcohol, drugs or other tragedy.
This paper brought their hardship to the attention of not only Glasgow, but to the rest of Scotland, including Holyrood.
MSPs finally decided on a s12 million emergency bail-out to Scottish local authorities who will pay kinship carers this extra cash.
Sally Brisbane, of West Glasgow Grandparents Support Group, said: "If it wasn't for your paper, I don't know where we would be now.
"You lit the torch for others to see our hardship."
Glasgow City Council's executive committee revealed that newly appointed kinship carers in the city will receive a flat-rate payment of s40 per week for every "looked after" child in their care.
The payment would be made under discretionary powers available to the council and would enhance any benefits currently received by the approved kinship carers.
Not included in this deal are hundreds of kinship carers who raise grand children or nephews and nieces having obtained custody orders through the courts.
But Mrs Brisbane, who represents hundreds of those who will not qualify, said she was in talks with council chiefs that may result in cash payments.
Glasgow MSP Bob Doris said: "The Glaswegian has campaigned tirelessly on the issue of kinship carer payments and listened to those carers that previous governments ignored.
"To see a decision taken that will see such carer payments finally beginning in Glasgow is a fitting tribute for publication in the paper's 1000th edition. Here's to another 1000, well done!"
Mr Doris welcomed the decision to make Government funded weekly cash payments to the kinship carers for the first time ever.
But he said it's emerged that the Department of Work and Pensions may claw back benefits from many kinship carers.
The s40 payment plan was devised by a cross-party group of councillors working alongside relevant officials and follows the launch by the Scottish Government and COSLA of the joint strategy 'Getting it Right for Every Child in Kinship Care and Foster Care'.
As part of the strategy, the council was awarded a share of a national allocation of s4 million for 2008/09, rising to s12 million by 2010/11.