Relative Poverty: family and friends care in London

More children are raised in family and friends care in London (in the main by their grandparents or older siblings when they cannot live with their parents) than in any other region of England or the UK. This is the first study that specifically examines the circumstances of family and friends carers in London, and the children they are raising, including levels of financial and material deprivation.  It recommends measures for local and national government to improve policy and practice for these children and carers.

The study analyses data from official government sources, extracts information about London family and friends care households from a major national survey conducted of family and friends carers[1]; includes interviews with carers and practitioners in London and analyses those family and friends care policies which have been published by London local authorities.

The study shockingly found that 46% of London family and friends carers had to give up work to take on the care of the children. The study found evidence of family and friends carers households in London suffering significant poverty: 23% of family and friends carers in London were claiming income support compared to 5% of London’s adult population; they were more likely to be managing on a very low household income of under £200 a week after tax than family and friends carers in other regions.  Yet only 19 out of 32 London local authorities have published a family and friends care policy on their website their family, over 18 months after the deadline set in the statutory government guidance on family and friends care.

[1] References to nation-wide figures in the report are actually referring to data for England and Wales.


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Roth D, Aziz R, Ashley C and Lindley B (2013) Relative Poverty: Study of family and friends care in London (FRG)

Summary of report

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Relative Poverty: Study of family and friends care in London

You can read the individual chapters of this study by following the links below.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The national policy context and legal framework for family and friends care

Chapter 3: Family and friends care in London - official data

Chapter 4: Interviews - individual and focus group

Chapter 5: Internet survey analysis

Chapter 6: Family and friends care policies in London

Chapter 7: Findings and recommendations

Appendix A: Family and friends care data collection template

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