The challenges faced by kinship carers across the country have been brought to light in a new report by national charity Grandparents Plus.
Kinship carers are grandparents and other family members who’ve taken on the care of children who aren’t able to live with their parents.
The charity’s research found that despite many stepping in to care for children who would have otherwise gone into local authority care, only one in ten carers feel they’re getting the support they need.
The survey revealed that:
- 52% of the children in kinship care have experienced abuse or neglect.
- The average household income for kinship families is just £17,316, compared to the national average of £27,200.
- 47% of carers say they are not getting the financial support they need, including 28% who feel very poorly supported.
- 65% of carers say they need more emotional support.
The charity estimates that around 180,000 children are currently in the care of relatives in the UK, and it’s likely that up to 95% of carers are not entitled to any statutory support.
In light of its findings, Grandparents Plus has made a series of recommendations for policy and practice, including entitlement to financial support to cover the costs of bringing up a kinship child, equivalent to the fostering allowance.
“Family members turn their lives upside down when they step in to raise children as kinship carers,” explained Lucy Peake, chief executive at Grandparents Plus. “They’re doing the right thing and keeping children out of care, yet too many are struggling to get the support they and their children desperately need. The Government needs to recognise and value their contribution – it makes sense to invest in supporting them properly.”
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