Grandparents Plus produces a regular ebulletin of relevant news and information for stakeholders.

You can read the most recent issue below. Past issues are also available to download.

To subscribe to the ebulletin please email us at info@grandparentsplus.org.uk

May news from Grandparents Plus

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Grandparents “throw squeezed families a lifeline”
New research published today by Grandparents Plus and Age UK reveals that grandparental childcare has increased by 35% and is now worth £7.3billion.
You can see some of the coverage on our website.

Both the number of children looked after by grandparents (up from 1.3m to 1.6m) and the number of hours that grandparents spend caring for them (up from 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion) has increased.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said: “Grandparents are throwing a lifeline to families squeezed by falling real incomes and rising childcare costs.  The contribution they are making within their families and the wider economy is enormous and rising.”

Caroline Abrahams, Director of External Affairs at Age UK added: “As the state pension age rises it may become increasingly difficult for grandparents to continue to provide such invaluable support, which is why Age UK would like to see everyone being able to request flexible working arrangements with their employers.”

Grandparents Plus has found that younger grandparents are particularly likely to be under pressure to care for grandchildren.  Increasingly that group is being stretched and expected to work and provide that care, sometimes for older relatives too.  The risk is of an emerging childcare gap as grandmothers stay in paid work and are no longer available to provide childcare.  As a result we could see mothers leaving the labour market.  Yet this research shows that for now, working parents are becoming increasingly dependent on grandparents.  That simply isn’t sustainable.  So we want to see:

  • An investment in good quality affordable childcare
  • An extension of the right to request flexible working to all, fostering a culture of flexibility in the workplace
  • Emergency leave for grandparents – to help when a child is sick or a school is closed
  • Parents able to transfer unpaid parental leave to grandparents and the possibility of periods of unused paid leave to become transferable too

In addition to these measures to support the grandparental childcare role we also want to see the introduction of adjustment leave and paid leave equivalent to adoption leave for grandparents and family carers who step in to raise children in place of parents.

Kinship care: the first choice for children – 6th June
We are working with Neil Stewart Associates to host a major national conference on kinship care on 6th June, featuring the latest research evidence, good practice from across the country and the latest thinking from the Government’s adviser on children’s social care, Sir Martin Narey.  It is still possible to book your place here.

On the same day we’ll be hosting the first Kinship Care Awards to celebrate the contribution that grandparents and family members make to caring for children in extremely difficult circumstances.  We’ll be revealing the campaigner of the year, local authority of the year, legal champion of the year and more.  It’s free to attend the reception. If you would like to come along email me at sam.smethers@grandparentsplus.org.uk

The Kinship Care Guide for England
Not content with new research and two major events we’re also publishing, in partnership with leading parental drug misuse charity Mentor, a new Kinship Care Guide next week. Written for grandparents and family carers who step into the caring role to raise a child full-time, the guide will help them to navigate what is a very complex and bewildering system.  It will also help them to think about the issues for them and the conflicting emotions they and the child they care for will be feeling.  But the Guide will be useful for social workers and other professionals too.

We’ll have more info on our website next week including how to order a copy.

As always if you want to find out more about our work please do get in touch.

Best wishes


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