Cross-party Parliamentary Taskforce: Publications
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Published reports produced on behalf of the Taskforce
Headline findings from the Taskforce’s survey of kinship carers’ experiences during the coronavirus crisis
- Half of kinship carers surveyed are self-isolating because they, the child or someone in their household has an underlying health condition.
- 28% of kinship carers surveyed have a limiting long-term illness and 54% of the kinship children have additional educational needs or disabilities.
- A quarter of kinship carers reported they faced financial hardship that had worsened as a result of the current crisis, and a further 18% remained in a similar level of hardship as pre-crisis.
- Carers’ biggest concerns are the impact of the lockdown on their child’s mental health, development and behaviour. Their other main worries are what would happen to the child if they became ill with the virus, and concerns about managing financially.
- Half of the kinship carers had received no support during this crisis and many expressed a wish to either receive a phone call from their local authority to check up on their wellbeing or to receive clear information about what help is available.
- 37% of kinship carers surveyed had been offered a school or childcare place. Most had not taken up the offer, with many being required to shield and citing worries that by sending their child to school, they would risk bringing the virus home. 18% of kinship carers said they had not been offered a place but would appreciate one.
Other charities including Kinship Carers Liverpool, Grandparents Plus and Adfam have also shared with us findings of their own engagement with kinship carers, which are consistent with the survey’s results.
Summary of recommendations drawn from the Taskforce’s survey of kinship carers’ experiences during the coronavirus crisis
The Taskforce welcome the measures the Government has introduced so far to help some kinship care families, but we urge Government to go further. Without support, placements may break down and more children would enter the care system, at a much greater cost to the child, family, society and the public purse.
Reducing financial hardship and administrative burdens
- A new local Kinship Care Crisis Fund to enable local authorities to respond flexibly to the needs of all kinship families in their locality. Suspension of the bedroom tax when self-isolating. Removal or at least increase the limit of the benefit cap.
Access to justice
- The promised extension of legal aid to special guardians in private law cases to be introduced as a matter of urgency.
Reducing anxieties and increasing support
- UK Government to work with the Kinship Care Alliance to fund a coordinated plan of financial and legal advice, and emotional, education, parenting and practical help to reflect kinship care households’ needs during the crisis.
- Work with supermarkets to prioritise supermarket deliveries for kinship carers and anyone parenting disabled children.
- We welcome the greater flexibility introduced to the Adoption Support Fund and propose that the Government goes a step further by extending the Fund to all children who are subject to special guardianship orders.
Education support for children in kinship care
- All children in kinship care placements, where there is local authority, court or professional evidence that they cannot live with their parents, should be offered a childcare or school place during the crisis.
- The Government offer of laptops or tablets and broadband to support home learning for children in care or who have a social worker, should be extended to all children in kinship care placements.