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We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

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Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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APPG’s Activities and Latest News

June 2023

On 21st June, the APPG met with the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, Claire Coutinho MP, to discuss the upcoming national kinship care strategy.

MPs and Peers, alongside kinship carers Shanayd Warren and Stuart Black, put their thoughts and questions to the Minister, who said the Government want to get to a place where kinship care is valued and properly supported.

The key issues discussed included: mental health support, employment rights, financial allowances, the lack of a kinship care definition, inequalities faced by carers and children from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the Government’s new training offer.

Family Rights Group’s Public Affairs Manager wrote a blog about what we learned from the session – read here

Formal minutes can be read here.

The APPG also held it’s Annual General Meeting. See the Group’s elected officers for 2023/24.

Minutes of the meeting can be read here.

The Group’s latest income and expenditure statement can be viewed here.


May 2023

The APPG responded to the consultation on the Government’s plans for children’s social care.

Drawing on the evidence the Group has heard from kinship families and the sector, here are their key messages to Government:

Read the APPG’s full consultation response here. Share on Twitter

March 2023

Spring Budget

The Budget had little to say on children’s social care beyond the announcements made in January in the Government’s implementation strategy.

The one exception being an uplift to the threshold for Qualifying Care Relief which could be worth up to £450 pa to qualifying foster and kinship carers. This is income tax relief for carers who receive payments for raising children placed with them by the local authority. In practice, foster carers including kinship foster carers will benefit from this reform. Financial help for kinship carers more broadly is hugely variable and some receive no support. The government’s immediate plans in this area remain unclear.

The extension of free childcare to include families with children aged 9 months up to 3 years will, once implemented, be beneficial to some kinship families who are in work. However, some will continue to be caught short such as if they work too few hours or are in education or training. Moreover, half of kinship carers have to give up work when the child comes to live with them and many are in financial hardship as a result. The upfront payment of childcare costs in universal credit is a helpful change. As is the Government’s support for the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill 2022-23 which will give a ‘day one’ right for employees to request flexible working.

Childcare Debate

The House of Commons debated the spending of the Department for Education on childcare and early years. Family Rights Group provided the APPG with a briefing about the free childcare for 2-year-olds scheme and how children in kinship care are impacted.

Kinship Care Bill

The Kinship Care Bill from APPG Vice Chair, Munira Wilson MP, was on the House of Commons order paper for a second reading. It seeks to:

  • Define kinship care in law
  • Provide weekly allowances
  • Introduce paid employment leave
  • Provide educational support

Liverpool Kinship Carers Charter

The APPG congratulated Kinship Carers Liverpool on leading pioneering work on the creation of the first local kinship care charter in Liverpool, setting out how kinship carers in the city will be supported. Read more

Bereavement support

There was a Westminster Hall debate on support for bereaved children. For children raised in kinship care, securing bereavement support and counselling can be difficult. Family Rights Group produced a briefing on policy in England.

February 2023

On 2nd February, the Government published their strategy for children’s social care reform, following the findings of the MacAlister Review.

The APPG published a statement responding to the announcement, welcoming the commitment to the first national kinship care strategy and calling on the Government to be bold, working cross-Government to deliver meaningful change for children and families. Read the response

See a Twitter thread on key announcements

In a House of Commons debate on the strategy, APPG Chair and a special guardian, Andrew Gwynne MP, asked the Secretary of the State for Education to address the postcode lottery in kinship care support – watch here.

In the House of Lords, APPG member Baroness Drake spoke on the need for the national kinship care strategy to be a cross-Government endeavour and to be adequately resourced. She highlighted the importance of free advice services, financial support and employment leave. The discussion demonstrated strong interest from across the chamber on improving support for kinship care with 37 mentions. Watch, Read

January 2023

The House of Lords approved the statutory instrument extending legal aid provision to kinship carers applying for special guardianship orders in private law. APPG member, Baroness Drake, welcomed the change and raised the need for similar provision for families before and during care proceedings. Watch here.

APPG Chair, Andrew Gwynne MP, wrote to Minister, Claire Coutinho MP, about the urgent need for a cross-government focus on support for kinship care in response to the independent review of children’s social care. Read here.

December 2022

On 8th December the House of Lords debated the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, led by Lord Watson of Invergowrie, a member of the APPG. The debate was well supported by peers from across the House and included calls for improved recognition and support for children to live in kinship care. A transcript of the debate can be read here and some key highlights can be watched here.

November 2022

Legal Aid and Advice 

On 14th November, Baroness Drake, a member of the APPG, had an oral question in the House of Lords on the APPG’s report on legal aid and advice. This was an opportunity to keep a focus on the challenges prospective kinship carers face accessing legal advice as highlighted by the APPG’s legal aid inquiry. Drake pressed the Government on the need to ensure legal aid provision is available to prospective special guardians in public as well as private law, including before care proceedings, as recommended by the APPG’s inquiry. Watch here 

She was joined by cross party colleagues in pressing the urgency and need for better practical, financial and legal support for kinship families. The written record of the debate can be read here and some key highlights can be watched here. 

Meeting with the Children’s Commissioner 

On 15th November, the Group held a session with the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, to discuss the Independent Family Review and improving support for children in kinship care. It was a wide-ranging discussion including schools and educational support, family-focused public services and better data collection especially in relation to informal kinship care arrangements. Thank you also to Clare and Elaine from FRG’s kinship carers’ panel for sharing their experience and ideas. Read a summary of the session here.

Commons debate on the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care 

On 24th November, a debate was held in the House of Commons on the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. It was a constructive and detailed debate with a number of MPs from across the House speaking in favour of improved support for kinship care. The Minister announced that the Government would now be responding to the Review early in the new year. A written record of the debate can be read here and some key highlights can be watched here. 

October 2022

Kinship Care Week, 3rd to 7th October 

Members of the Group were pleased to join events marking Kinship Care Week and thanking kinship carers for the amazing role they play in the lives of children. 

The Group reaffirmed its cross party commitment to campaigning in Parliament for a better deal on kinship care for children and their carers. Every child should have the opportunity to live safely and thrive within their family. 

Letter to the Prime Minister 

MPs and Peers on the APPG sent a letter to Prime Minister Liz Truss, calling on her to put supporting kinship care at the centre of her Government’s action plan for implementing the independent review of children’s social care. Read here. 

Draft legislation extending legal aid 

Further to the parliamentary question response received by the Chair of the APPG before the summer, the Ministry of Justice laid a draft statutory instrument to extend the legal aid to some kinship carers. The measure will ensure special guardians who are applying to take on the care of children are eligible for means and merits tested legal aid in private law court proceedings. See analysis of the changes from Family Rights Group, the APPG’s secretariat, here. 

Kinship Care Bill debate 

Munira Wilson MP, a Vice Chair of the APPG and proponent of the Kinship Care Bill, led a Westminster Hall debate setting out more detail on how her Bill proposes to improve support for children and their kinship carers. APPG Chair and kinship carer, Andrew Gwynne MP, shared his experience. APPG Vice Chair, Ian Byrne MP, also spoke about the work of Kinship Carers Liverpool. Read the transcript here 

Many parliamentarians have also supported an Early Day Motion, backing the Bill. 

Kinship Parliamentary Reception 

MPs and Peers attended a parliamentary reception, sponsored by Munira Wilson MP and hosted by the charity Kinship, launching the charity ‘Value Our Love’ campaign. Speakers included the Children’s Commissioner for England and Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Bridget Phillipson MP. 

The APPG’s activities and latest news including media coverage (2021)

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