APPG on Kinship Care
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The All Party Parliamentary Group on Kinship Care is a cross party group of MPs and Peers who share a common interest in championing kinship care and improving support for kinship carers. The group was established in March 2021 and Family Rights Group serve as the group’s secretariat.
The APPG seeks to raise awareness of kinship care and to promote policy and practice which supports more children to live safely within their family and friends network, when they cannot live with their parents. The group also seeks to improve support for kinship carers and to amplify the voices and experiences of children in kinship care and their families.
Influence the national kinship care strategy
The Government has committed to publishing the first national kinship care strategy by the end of 2023, which is a significant development. The strategy proposes to clearly set out the Government’s position on kinship care and comprehensive plans to better support children and carers. The APPG is working to influence this strategy to ensure that it meets the moment and delivers the change children and families need.
Lobby on the APPG’s 2023 legal aid inquiry proposals
The APPG’s 2022 inquiry on legal aid and advice found that the majority of current and prospective kinship carers do not have access to the legal advice they need. The child welfare and family justice systems are failing to involve, inform and support family and friends who wish to put themselves forward to care. 82% of kinship carers did not feel they knew enough about their legal options to make an informed decision about the best options for their kinship child. This has lasting consequences for their entitlement to support and who can make key decisions about the child. The Government has recently extended means and merits tested legal aid to special guardians in private law cases which is a positive step forward. However, significant gaps remain.
Kinship care and the workplace
Half of kinship carers surveyed for the APPG’s 2022 inquiry gave up their job to take on the kinship care children. A further 29% of those in work reduced their hours. The Government has committed to working across government to explore possible additional workplace entitlements. The APPG will work to ensure this commitment delivers the change kinship families need. For example, carers and the sector have long been pushing for paid employment leave akin to adoption leave which would allow carers time to settle the child into their home, maintain their participation in the workforce and reduce reliance on welfare benefits.