Ashleigh’s parents have been kinship carers to her niece, Kacey, for the last five years.
I was 15 when Kacey moved in with us permanently. I had just finished my GCSEs and had started working towards my A Levels. My parents obtained a Residency Order for Kacey when she was only 8 months old.
Although my parents did most of the work when Kacey was a baby, I had to step in and do my share of the caring. Before the Residence Order, I would have her overnight and then get up and go to school or I would have to go and check on her before school. At one stage we were having her 4 or 5 nights a week.
My brother is Kacey’s dad but his relationship with her mum wasn’t great, it was unstable and Kacey was neglected. It was really hard for me and my parents, we tried to help as much as we could and at one stage Kacey and her mum moved in with us but it just didn’t work.
Although I am not a kinship carer, I have had a great in-put and say in Kacey’s care. Sadly kinship carers are often forgotten and it is not recognised that they need the same support as foster carers. There is a sense of inequality to it all.
It is always quite difficult trying to explain our situation. People just don’t understand or want to understand. Even some of our wider family don’t understand why we have Kacey, they think we should have left her with her mum, but that just wasn’t an option.
A lot of people question whether Kacey should be with my parents because they obviously didn’t do a good job the first time around with her dad. Of course this isn’t true my parents are fantastic, they are the kind of people that want everyone to feel welcome in our home and would do anything for anyone. My sister has a Masters Degree and is a teacher in a secondary school (she is a super mum), I am doing just fine and work as an Early years Practitioner and my eldest brother is doing great too. It is not my parents’ fault that one of their children couldn’t bring up his daughter.
We are all so close and we couldn’t imagine being without Kacey. My parents are doing an excellent job bringing her up and she is a very happy, bright and confident 4 year old. People often say that Kacey is lucky to have us but we simply reply by saying “No, we are lucky to have her.”
Ashleigh’s post highlight some of the problems that kinship carers face. We think it is #timetocare about kinship care.
For more information please visit our #timtocare page here.