Kinship Care Matters

It’s election time: Kinship Care Matters

By Lucy Peake,CEO, Grandparents Plus

FH000030Elections have a way of dividing people – red or blue, in or out – but with every election there’s also the chance to come together and speak out about what matters to us.   That’s why throughout this election period, Grandparents Plus is working with the Kinship Care Alliance, to put kinship care on the agenda, and fight for a fair deal for children and kinship carers across the country.

Through our advice service and Relative Experience programme, we speak to kinship carers every day.  The stories we hear are depressingly similar – too many kinship carers are struggling financially and are unable to get the support they need to give children the safe and stable homes they deserve.  Our 2017 survey shows that 52% of the children in kinship care have experienced parental abuse or neglect, and over half have special needs.  Yet getting the help they need to thrive is all too often dependent on untangling red tape and challenging a system that doesn’t fully recognise them.  When you consider the fact that there are 200,000 children in kinship care – over twice as many as in local authority care, it’s pretty clear: too many children are falling through the net, carers are fighting tooth and nail to make ends meet, and it has to stop.

Earlier this week Janice, a grandmother who’s taken on care of her two grandsons, came to visit us in the office.  Two years ago, she was at breaking point, having fought to keep the children out of care while her daughter battled complex issues.  She describes how she had no one to turn to, struggled to cope and lived in constant fear of losing the boys forever.  Janice called our advice service, and thankfully found the lifeline she needed to get back on her feet.  Her grandsons are thriving, and Janice is now running kinship coffee mornings to help reach and support other carers in her area.  Hearing her passion when she says that no one should go through what she did is a reminder both of the thousands of other families like hers who are struggling alone, and how better recognition of kinship care would change everything.

Together, we can put an end to the isolation and fear, and let these children know that they matter.  Get involved and push for change with your local parliamentary candidate using the link here.

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3 Responses to Kinship Care Matters

  1. Heather Staines says:

    We live on a state pension and I had to give up work to care for our grandchild. My husband has health issues but we have taken the role of SGO to keep the children within the family. I recent the means tested approach. I have held back from claiming CTC but have now been forced down that road. This is not what we had expected in our retirement our daughter died and their father felt unable to take them on. We worked all our lives, lived within our means, only had children that we felt we could afford only to be left with three little ones late in life when we can least afford it. I want the best for them. We get no support from social services. Charities have been a life line but this is not good enough.

  2. Sad we need. To see them all 3together as we are in our 80s says:

    Yes we would love some help and support from the courts as grandparents ,plus our daughter and her partner haven’t seen there. 3. Children for 3years Social services have lost. All. Contact. With us as a family we are very close we are lost with not having contact they’ll think we don’t. Want to see them as there in Forster Care Kelsey’s 12on 1st June ,Cheryl is 11. On 4th June &Anthony Is 8. OnJuly 11 the. We are very. Sad sad they

  3. Julie says:

    I am a kinship carer and totally understand this situation. I am struggling financially as I had to give up my two jobs when I had my granddaughter. Once you have the SGO you are left totally on your own. I have given up everything to keep my granddaughter out of care, this I don’t mind but when asking for help you shouldn’t be made to feel as if you are being unreasonable, greedy or begging. This is not how I planned the latter part of my life to be so why is it made even more difficult by lack of money, time and no support. Kinship carers save social services millions, so why can’t we have the proper help and support that is needed.

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