Family Rights Group sets six key tests for government on kinship care
Published: 11th September 2023
4 minute read
The first national kinship care strategy is set to be published by the end of this year. Family Rights Group has set six tests for government to deliver on to meet the needs of children and families.
Kinship carers are wider family and friends – including grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters – who step up for children when they cannot stay at home. It’s estimated that 180,000 children in the UK are being raised by kinship carers. Many would otherwise be raised by strangers within a children’s social care system which is in crisis.
Family Rights Group’s Six Tests
To enable kinship carers to step forward and to ensure every child gets the support they need to thrive, the national strategy should deliver on the following six areas. Action to address inequalities, including on race and disability, should run throughout.
- An inclusive definition of kinship care written into primary legislation
- Independent specialist advice for (prospective) kinship carers to make informed decisions
- Paid employment leave and protections for kinship carers
- A fair system of financial support for kinship households nationwide
- Educational support for children and young people raised in kinship care until the age of 25
- Access to therapeutic and mental health support for all kinship children
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group, said:
“Kinship care is very often the best option for children who cannot stay at home, and yet has been consistently overlooked and undervalued by successive governments despite the worsening crisis in children’s social care.
“The first national kinship care strategy is an opportunity to address this injustice and deliver for tens of thousands of children and their carers. Our six tests set out what children and families say the Government needs to commit to in the strategy.”
In February, Gillian Keegan MP, the Education Secretary pledged to “unlock the potential of kinship care” so that “children who cannot stay with their parents are cared for by people who know and love them already”.
With David Johnston OBE taking on the job of Children’s Minister last week, this is the Government’s opportunity to rise to the scale of the challenge facing the children’s social care sector. This must involve Departments across government taking kinship care seriously.
If the Government’s strategy were to address these six areas of concern for kinship families, it would help ensure that kinship arrangements remain viable for families across the country who take on responsibility for children in need, often at great personal cost.