National Kinship Care Workshop
Published: 20th April 2023
3 minute read
Family Rights Group has hosted a National Kinship Care Workshop in partnership with the Department for Education. Kinship carers shared their thoughts directly with the Government on plans to reform children’s social care.
Kinship carers are relatives or friends who step in to raise children who cannot remain at home. Often, the children would otherwise be looked after by strangers in the care system.
The Government has acknowledged that kinship carers receive inadequate support for the immense role they play in raising children. Stable Homes, Built on Love – the Government’s strategy – pledges to tackle this shortcoming. They commit to: investing in training and support groups for kinship carers; improving financial support; exploring employment entitlements; developing the first cross-departmental kinship care strategy.
The voices of kinship carers should be heard in this process. Too often, lived experience is overlooked and families suffer as a result. For instance, many kinship carers are struggling through the cost-of-living crisis. Some are seeing the financial and practical support they were receiving for their children reduced or taken away completely as local authorities struggle to balance their budgets. Our workshop ensured that senior civil servants listened to carers’ experiences and ideas for change to inform future policy development.
We brought together 40 kinship carers from across England at the online event which was chaired by Shanayd Warren, a kinship carer to her niece. Our partner kinship care organisations including Kinship Carers Liverpool, Kinship Carers UK, and Families in Harmony were invaluable in helping to give as many carers as possible the opportunity to contribute.
The Kinship and Alternatives to Care policy team from the Department for Education listened closely to the personal stories of kinship carers during this workshop. Altogether, this amounted to a message that should underpin any future kinship care strategy. Kinship carers need recognition and support from all public agencies – including hospitals, schools, national, and local government – to ensure that their children can thrive within their families.