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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.
Kinship carers may be raising the children under various legal arrangements, which include:
- kinship foster care where the child is formally in the care system;
- children who are subject to a ‘Special Guardianship Order’, ‘Child Arrangements Order’ or ‘Residence Order’; and
- children living in an informal arrangement where there is no court order (this includes private fostering arrangements).
Facts about kinship care:
- Children raised by kinship carers feel loved and secure and report high levels of satisfaction.
- Kinship care placements offer more stability than placements with carers with whom the child has no prior relationship (‘unrelated care’).
- Kinship carers show a high level of commitment.
- Children in kinship care have experienced similar adversities to those in the care system but they and their carers receive much less support.
- Many kinship carers live in impoverished circumstances, and this impacts on the children.