Kinship Care Week 2022
Published: 20th September 2022
5 minute read
It is estimated that 200,000 children in the United Kingdom who cannot live with their parents are being brought up by grandparents, older siblings or other wider family members or friends. These family and friends carers are also known as kinship carers.
There are many benefits to kinship care, including better outcomes for children compared to other areas of the care system, the kinship carers’ dedication and love for their children, and the fact that children in kinship care can maintain ties with their family networks, improving their sense of identity and belonging.
However, many kinship carers face unique challenges while caring for their children. Three out of four kinship carers experience severe financial hardship, with half of kinship carers having to give up work to raise their children, many of whom require a lot of love and support due to the adversities they have faced. Many carers also go through stressful and expensive legal proceedings to secure their child’s future.
At Family Rights Group, it is our mission to ensure the child welfare and family justice systems support children to live safely and thrive within their family. Together with other organisations, we are part of the Kinship Care Alliance which lobbies for greater rights and support for kinship carers at Westminster, Cardiff, and in local councils.
We helped to develop best practises on kinship care internationally, with dedicated sessions on the topic at The Kempe Centre International Virtual Conference 2022. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn from and share our expertise with over 3,000 academics, practitioners, and people with lived experience from across the world – and hopefully improve the support available for kinship carers worldwide.
If you have a few spare minutes, here’s how you can help us to help kinship carers:
- Start a conversation with a friend, family member or co-worker about kinship care. Maybe they or someone they know was raised in kinship care but never realised – this is a common occurrence!
- Advocate for our #TimeToDefine campaign which seeks to strengthen kinship carers’ entitlements to support in law.
- You might want to consider supporting the Kinship Care Bill which is currently being taken through Parliament with FRG’s support by Munira Wilson MP. You could do this by writing to your MP to express support with our template letter, or posting support for the bill on social media.
- If you are a councillor, please consider joining our Councillor’s Network which plays a key role in coordinating support for kinship carers and children across the country. In particular, we suggest taking a look at our model motion on kinship care and tabling it at an upcoming council meeting.
- If you’re a practitioner, you could look into whether your organisation can establish a local peer-to-peer support group and ensure kinship carers are routinely signposted to such groups. Or you could consider how your local authority could establish a family group conference service to ensure a child’s wider family can take a lead in decisions about their welfare, including putting themselves forward as potential kinship carers. There is more information on our kinship care consultancy page here.