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Kinship Care Alliance responds to the change to welfare benefits for kinship carers

Published: 22nd June 2016

2 minute read

The Kinship Care Alliance responds to the change to welfare benefits for kinship carers who look after children unable to live with their parents:

The Kinship Care Alliance warmly welcomes the announcement by Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, of a year’s exemption from conditionality under Universal Credit for grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles and other relatives and friends (kinship) carers who are taking on the responsibility for bringing up children who are unable to live with their parents.

This is a measure that the Kinship Care Alliance strongly campaigned for when the Welfare Reform Act was going through Parliament, with the help of family and friends carers, MPs and Peers across political parties. We would like to thank everyone who has participated in our campaign.

Family and friends carers provide children, who would otherwise be in the care system, with a secure and loving family, at considerable savings to the public purse. Research shows that 38% of carers have to give up work when children move in, and many are forced into poverty as a result. This concession will mean that for a year at least carers, rather than face a benefits penalty for not actively seeking work, will be able to spend their time prioritising the settling in of vulnerable children who may have suffered trauma or abuse and who may have moved school as well as home. It will provide a degree of reassurance that we hope will encourage family members to continue to step forward when children can no longer live with birth parents

We also welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement of the major sacrifices family and friends carers make in helping children in difficult situations to remain in a family environment.

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