Anna Turley MP, with the support of Family Rights Group, has set up cross-party Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care. The aim is to raise awareness about, and support for, children in kinship care and to highlight the importance of this option for children who cannot live with their parents.
An introductory briefing sets out key information about kinship care for Parliamentarians.
There are three work streams that help to feed into the main Taskforce:
Work Stream 1: Assessment and access to services – including financial support, like welfare benefits, therapeutic or emotional help, and other support
Work Stream 2: Decision-making and family engagement – how families are identified and what advice do they require
Work Stream 3: Reshaping the system
Follow the work of the Taskforce on Twitter @KinshipCarePT
Gathering evidence and ideas
Call for written evidence
The Taskforce has developed a written evidence form for organisations working with kinship carers, children and families, including child welfare and family justice organisations. Individual practitioners who wish to submit your views may also use this form. The request for written evidence is an opportunity to share their insight with the Taskforce, including information about practice challenges, effective ways of working and recommendations for change.
The deadline for responses is 30th April 2019.
Survey and Freedom of Information request for local authorities
The Taskforce has drawn up a survey for local authorities to complete, which has been emailed to all Directors of Children’s Services in England and Wales. The survey responses will be analysed as part of the evidence gathering phase, in order to ensure that the Taskforce learns from local authorities about what is working well at a local level as well as identifying gaps in provision and what changes at national level would assist.
Family Rights Group on behalf of the Taskforce has also sent a freedom of information request to all local authorities in England in February 2019.
Are you a kinship carer? How you can influence the Taskforce
There are a number of ways that you can influence the Parliamentary Taskforce:
Write to your MP – tell them what is most important to you
To make it simpler you can download and edit a template letter for Kinship Carers here. The text of the draft letter also includes an invite to your MP to get involved in the Taskforce. If you are not sure who your MP is, or do not know their address, you can find it out through this website.
Alongside analysing existing research, the Taskforce will analyse the letters to identify matters of most importance to kinship carers.
Please complete this kinship care survey drawn up by Family Rights Group
The results will greatly assist FRG’s ability to highlight injustices facing kinship carers & children & set out what needs to change. Analysis of the survey will be presented to, & influence the recommendations of the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care. Take the survey here.
If you are part of a kinship support group – could your group host a discussion to inform the Taskforce?
Here is a list of questions that you could use to help structure the meeting. A couple of members of the group may wish to consider whether they would like to give direct evidence to a Taskforce meeting at a later date.
Regional meetings open to all kinship carers
Taskforce meetings are being held in different regions of England and Wales. These meetings are open to all kinship carers in the area. Each meeting is being led by a different organisation within the Kinship Care Alliance and we will publish the dates and venues for these meetings as soon as they are confirmed. They will be attended by MPs and feel free to encourage your MP to attend.
Event for London kinship carers:
11am-1pm, Tuesday, 29th January 2019
Room Q, Portculllis House, SW1A (near Westminster tube)
Organised by Grandparents Plus
Event for kinship carers in Yorkshire and the Humber:
12:30 – 2:30pm, Thursday 14th March 2019
Cloth Hall Court, Quebec Street, Leeds, LS1 2HA,
Organised by Leeds City Council
Event for kinship carers in Somerset:
10 – 11:30am, Friday 15th March 2019
Pizza Express meeting room, 20 Bridge Street, Taunton TA1 1BU
Organised by Taunton Kinship Carer Support Group
Event for kinship carers in the North West of England:
11.30am, Friday 29th March 2019
Cunard Buildings, Liverpool, L3 1JR
Organised by Kinship Carers Liverpool
Event for kinship carers in the South East of England:
1 - 3pm, Tuesday 2nd April 2019
1 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 0AA
Organised by Coram BAAF
Event for kinship carers in the South West of England:
10 - 11:30am, Friday 26th April 2019
Bristol City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR
Organised by Family Rights Group
Event for kinship carers in the Midlands:
11am - 1pm, Friday 17th May 2019
Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB
Organised by Birmingham Children’s Trust
The launch of the Taskforce
The Taskforce was launched at an event in Parliament on the 5th December. Speakers included Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families. Other speakers included Enza and her grandson Bradley, Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group and Anna Turley MP.
Those attending included Luciana Berger MP, Alex Chalk MP, Alex Cunningham MP, Helen Hayes MP, Mike Hill MP, Kevan Jones MP, Kerry McCarthy MP, Melanie Onn MP, Gareth Snell MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Baroness Armstrong, Baroness Drake, alongside kinship carers, civil servants from the Department for Education and representatives from organisations within the Kinship Care Alliance including Coram Baaf, Family Rights Group, Grandparents Plus, and Kinship Carers UK.
Media coverage about the Parliamentary TaskforceArticles or interviews about the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care
- Children and Young People Now, 5 December 2018
- Kinship Carers get too little support – that has to change, by Anna Turley MP, The Times, 5 December 2018
- BBC Today in Parliament, 7 December 2018, Enza (a kinship carer) & Bradley (her grandson), Cathy Ashley (Chief Executive of Family Rights Group) and Anna Turley MP talk about why the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care has been launched (from 12 minutes 12 secs to 17min 20 sec into the programme)