Media releases

For all press enquiries please email info@grandparentsplus.org.uk or contact Maeve Thompson on 020 8981 8001 or 07584 435393.

22 February 2017 – Groundbreaking project reaches 500th kinship carer

 

Relative Experience

Support groups in the North East have helped a groundbreaking project supporting grandparents and other family members who are raising a relative’s child (as ‘kinship carers’) reach a new milestone – supporting its 500th carer.

Relative Experience, a unique project delivered by charity Grandparent Plus in partnership with Family Lives to support kinship carers across the North East, gives carers access to specialist help, support groups and a befriending service to transform the experience of both carers and the children they’re raising.

A network of 16 support groups is now running throughout the North East as a result of the project, who have helped reach more kinship carers, often in desperate need of support.

The North East of England has the highest prevalence of children – around one in 70 – being raised by kinship carers in England. These carers are often facing the unexpected challenge of bringing up children without access to local authority support.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund Silver Dreams Fund, Relative Experience aims to help families get access to the services they need, and tackle the problems of social isolation reported by kinship carers through a network of support groups.

Dawn Jenkins, Relative Experience Project Manager, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone.  The contribution of each of our support groups in reaching more kinship carers, and giving them a space to come and share their experiences is absolutely vital to the project’s success, and we’re grateful to everyone who helps keep them running.

“This project has shown the huge difference tailored support can make to the lives of kinship carers and the children they’ve taken on.  People from all walks of life can end up in this position, and without any direct entitlements many don’t know where to turn.  There’s a lot more work to be done, both here in the North East and across the country.  Around 200,000 children in the UK are growing up in kinship care, in danger of becoming an invisible minority, but with the continued support for projects like these, we can make sure that doesn’t happen.”

11 January 2017 – New Year bonus for family and friend carers raising children in the UK

National charity Grandparents Plus has been awarded £250,000 by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to support some of the country’s most vulnerable families.

The funding will be used to help ‘kinship carers’ – family and friends who’ve taken on care of children when their parents can’t look after them – and will enable the charity to reach and support more kinship carers through its advice line and support network, which already provides thousands of people with essential support every year.

There are 300,000 children being raised by grandparents and other family members in the UK because their parents are unable to – often due to bereavement, serious illness, drug and alcohol misuse and imprisonment.  Kinship carers step in to save children from going into care, but often face isolation and are left to struggle alone, frequently without any financial or practical support from local authorities.

Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said: “As a small national charity working to support a large and often invisible group of kinship carers, this funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery will be transformational and enable us to reach and support more kinship carers and their families.   Becoming a kinship carer is something that could happen to anyone – often suddenly – and too many carers don’t know who they can turn to for help.

“Becoming a kinship carer is life changing and carers tell us that our free support network and advice service are a lifeline. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery we will be able to offer more help to more kinship carers in desperate need of advice and a listening ear.”

Pam Kadir, kinship carer to her grandchildren said: “Grandparents Plus has helped me in so many ways and it’s wonderful news that they have funding to reach more people in my situation.

“It’s much tougher bringing up my grandchildren than it was my own child but knowing Grandparents Plus is at the end of the phone has made such a difference to our lives.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are able to support Grandparents Plus with this funding pot of £250,000. Grandparents Plus offers such valuable support to those who become kinship carers and through this funding even more help will be provided to those in need.”

The funding will allow for more kinship carers to access support and information from the Grandparents Plus Support Network and Advice Service. If you are caring for a relatives or friends child please call 0300 123 7015, lines are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm.

 

20 December 2016 – ‘Legal lottery’ still faced by 200,000 children in kinship care

The largest ever survey of kinship (family and friend) carers in England and Wales has revealed that a ‘legal lottery’ still determines the support available to children unable to live with their parents, despite government advice issued to local authorities in 2010 aimed at focussing support on children’s needs.

The survey, conducted by Grandparents Plus, reflected the experiences of over 600 members of its support network, and found that while almost half the carers were bringing up at least one child with special needs, potentially thousands of children’s access to financial and specialist support was limited by the legal arrangement they’re cared for under.

Kinship carers can take on the care of children informally, or under a number of different legal arrangements.  Depending on the arrangement in place, most aren’t entitled to any local authority support, and say they struggle to access the help the children need – of children with special needs, a quarter had received no specialist support.

Department for Education guidance issued to local authorities in 2010 specified that services shouldn’t be allocated on the basis of a child’s legal status, and that they shouldn’t be withheld because the child is in an informal care arrangement.[1]

Dr Lucy Peake, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said: “Many children in kinship care are vulnerable, and at the moment they’re being let down by a system that focuses on the result of a legal lottery rather than their needs.  If their grandparents or family members hadn’t stepped in to look after them, they would have been fostered or adopted, and would be entitled to a range of support.  It’s not right that a family member agreeing to care for them instead usually means that they lose the right to the services they need, and those who don’t have a legal order drop off the radar completely.

“Children in kinship care should be entitled to the same level of support as children who are fostered or adopted, regardless of any legal arrangement in place, or if there is one or not. The guidance issued in 2010 aimed to base available support on the needs of the child, but unfortunately our survey shows that this isn’t happening. We think it’s crucial for every agency working with families to recognise these children, and for the government to take real steps in supporting local authorities, schools and other agencies to get them the support they need.”

An executive summary and the full results of the survey are available here.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/288483/family-and-friends-care.pdf

 

29 November 2016 – North East’s kinship carers gather to celebrate groundbreaking project

A groundbreaking project supporting grandparents and other family members who are raising a relative’s child (as ‘kinship carers’) across the north east of England was celebrated at an event in Newcastle yesterday, ahead of a new bid to expand the project across the country.

The event showcased the success of Relative Experience, a unique approach delivered by charity Grandparent Plus in partnership with Family Lives to support kinship carers across the North East, giving them access to specialist help and a befriending service to transform the experience of both carers and the children they’re raising.

The North East of England has the highest prevalence of children – around one in 70 – being raised by kinship carers in England. These carers are often facing the unexpected challenge of bringing up children without access to local authority support.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund Silver Dreams Fund, Relative Experience aims to help families get access to the services they need, and tackle the problems of social isolation reported by kinship carers through a network of support groups.

So far, the project has helped over 400 kinship carers, with 15 support groups now available across the region.

Janice Santos has been caring for her two grandsons for over a year.  She said: ““I remember the first time me and my husband went to a Relative Experience meeting – I just broke down and cried. We had felt alone for so long and knowing we now had somewhere to turn to was a huge relief. The project has had a positive impact on my life and the support it provides should be available to all kinship carers.”

Dawn Jenkins, Relative Experience Project Manager, said: “This project has shown the huge difference tailored support can make to the lives of kinship carers and the children they’ve taken on.  People from all walks of life can end up in this position, and without any direct entitlements many don’t know where to turn.  There’s a lot more work to be done, both here in the North East and across the country.  Around 200,000 children in the UK are growing up in kinship care, in danger of becoming an invisible minority, but with the continued support for projects like these, we can make sure that doesn’t happen.”

 

9 November 2016 – Grandparents Plus welcomes the news that kinship carers Paul and Sue Rutherford have won their appeal over the bedroom tax.

Today the Supreme Court upheld the earlier Court of Appeal ruling that the policy unjustifiably discriminates against children with disabilities.

The Rutherfords, who are disabled themselves, care for their severely disabled grandson Warren in a specially-adapted three-bedroom bungalow in Pembrokeshire. They need a third bedroom for Warren’s carers to stay in overnight. However, whilst Housing Benefit regulations allow adults to have an extra bedroom for a carer, this provision does not extend to children.

Jo Raine, Advice Service Manager at Grandparents Plus said:

“We are delighted to hear that grandparent carers Paul and Sue Rutherford have won their case in the Supreme Court. A disproportionate number of kinship carers are raising children with disabilities, and this case demonstrates the negative impact that such policies can have on these carers. Many kinship carers are already suffering financial hardship. This policy served to compound these difficulties for those caring for the most vulnerable children.”

 

26 October 2016 – Grandparents Plus is shortlisted in the Guardian Charity of the Year Awards 2016

Grandparents Plus is one of 30 charities that have been shortlisted in the Guardian Charity of the Year Awards 2016. Dr Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted from over 750 applications. It is thanks to our dedicated team of staff, trustees and volunteers that Grandparents Plus is able to support and champion the vital role of grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives.  It’s wonderful to see everyone’s hard work recognised in this way.”

The winning charities will be announced on 13 December 2016.
You can see the full shortlist here.

 

13 June 2016 – Grandparents Plus welcomes proposals in the Children and Social Work Bill to improve support for looked after children and calls for support to be extended to children growing up in kinship care.

Dr Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, says

153,000 children in England are living with grandparents and other family members, many more than children in foster care or adopted from care. Research shows that these children have very similar needs. They have often experienced multiple difficulties, including abuse and neglect, parental drug and alcohol abuse, bereavement, domestic violence, parental mental illness and abandonment. Around a half have emotional and behavioural difficulties or other special needs.

The Bill presents a significant opportunity to extend similar support to children in kinship care to those in other permanency placements. We share the Government’s desire for children who cannot return to their parents to live in a loving family where they can stay as long as they need. For most children this will be with a family member. Legislation and support needs to catch up with this reality. All children in long-term placements who can’t live with their parents should have access to the help and support they need.

 

18 May 2016 – ‘Let’s not forget the hidden army of kinship carers’ Grandparents Plus comments on new figures released by Age UK.

Today Age UK released new figures highlighting ‘Britain’s invisible army of carers’.

“The new figures released today put a spotlight on the important role older people play in society by providing informal care for partners and other relatives. But let’s not forget that there is another hidden army of carers – kinship carers” said Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus.

“There are 200,000 grandparent and other kinship carers in the UK raising children without financial or practical support. They too, are saving the state money by stepping in and raising children who would otherwise be put into the care system. We need to ensure that this group of carers are not forgotten and also receive better recognition from the government.”

 

28  January 2016 – Grandparents Plus welcomes announcement that kinship carers will be exempt from two child benefit limit

Yesterday the government announced that kinship carers will be exempt from the two child benefit limit, which will see tax credits and Universal Credit being limited to a maximum of two children per family.

Sarah Wellard, Research and Policy Director at Grandparents Plus said

“This will be a great relief for kinship carers. It will ensure that those considering stepping in and taking on the care of children will not be deterred. I would like to thank everyone who backed the Grandparents Plus campaign and wrote to their MP.”

 

21 December 2015 – Grandparents Plus welcomes the Government announcement on Special Guardianship Orders

Dr Lucy Peake, Chief Executive at Grandparents Plus said,

“We welcome the Minister for Children and Families Edward Timpson’s announcement to strengthen the assessment framework for Special Guardianship Orders and improve support to special guardians and children.
“During the course of the consultation DfE officials met with special guardians and other kinship carers in Gateshead and Middlesbrough who are supported by our Relative Experience project and listened to their experiences.  Whilst some local authorities are providing good support for special guardians, many kinship carers are struggling to get the financial and practical help they need for the vulnerable children they are bringing up. Special guardians, unlike adoptive parents and foster carers, have no legal entitlement to support or to take time off work even though the  children they are caring for have had very similar difficult early experiences of abuse, neglect and  trauma with their birth parents.  And all too often special guardians and other kinship carers are expected to manage difficult relationships with children’s parents without support.

“We want all children to have the best possible start in life and we know that children benefit from stability and strong, loving relationships with their carers. Investing in better support for special guardians and other kinship carers makes sense for children and also for the taxpayer – by enabling children to thrive and achieve better long term outcomes.”

 

2 November 2015 – Grandparents Plus responds to Prime Minister’s statement to speed up adoption process 

We welcome the Government’s announcement to remove unnecessary delays from the adoption system.  No-one wants to see children in temporary placements when they could be living with a family who are committed to them for the whole of their lives.

However the focus on adoption is missing the bigger picture – 5,330 children were adopted from care last year, but there are 153,000 children in England living with grandparents and other relatives. For most children who cannot live with their parents,  kinship care is the best option – especially when children already have a bond with their carer. Children in kinship care have faced similar experiences to those in foster care and those who are adopted – and they have the same needs as those adopted or placed in long term foster care. Yet children in kinship care are often overlooked and ignored, and in 95% of cases have no legal entitlement to support. All too often family members are left struggling to bring up children traumatised by abuse, neglect or bereavement without adequate help.

If the Government is serious about improving outcomes for children, it needs to give greater recognition to kinship care, and to ensure that all children receive the support they need, irrespective of the type of family they are growing up in.

 

1 November 2015 – Grandparents Plus has merged with The Grandparents’ Association

Grandparents Plus and The Grandparents’ Association merged on 31 October 2015 and will be known as Grandparents Plus (incorporating The Grandparents’ Association).

The charity will continue with all the vital work that both charities have done to champion and support grandparents and other family members who are looking after children in often challenging circumstances.

Helen Jackson and Trevor Bush, co-chairs of Grandparents Plus said:

‘The merger of Grandparents Plus and The Grandparents’ Association puts our beneficiaries first. We will be the most powerful voice for grandparents and other kinship carers, offering one point of contact, one source of expertise, research, advice and support. We’ll build on our impressive foundations to do even more and continue to ensure that children remain the heart of everything we do. We will extend our reach and our influence, and deliver more support and services for grandparents and the wider family. And we will be a more vibrant and sustainable charity.’

Over the next six months, we will be consulting widely as we develop our plans for the future.
We’d love to hear from you. Please email 2020vision@grandparentsplus.org.uk or call 020 8981 8001 so we can keep in touch.

  • Download press release here.

 

5 October 2015 – Charity welcomes the Government’s announcement to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents

Grandparents Plus has today welcomed the Government’s plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.

Grandparents Plus chief executive Dr Lucy Peake said: “The Government’s announcement to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents is great news for families.

“Working parents up and down the country rely on the 7 million grandparents who are providing care for their children, and we welcome the Government’s recognition of grandparents’ vital caring role as well as the introduction of greater choice for families about balancing child care and work.

“We look forward to working with the Government on the detail of the new policy and want to make sure it works for new parents and grandparents.

“While we welcome the proposals to support families in the first year of a child’s birth, we know that 1 in 4 working families depend on grandparents for child care while their children grow up, and 2 million say they would give up work if grandparents were unable to care for their children. At the same time, people are working longer. We need to take action to enable grandparents to combine work and care. Giving working grandparents the right to flexible working and entitlement to leave to care for their grandchildren as they grow up would make a huge difference to families and to the economy.”

A survey conducted by Grandparents Plus earlier this year revealed that 2 million working parents say they would give up work if grandparents were unable to care for their children (Survation poll for Grandparents Plus, March 2015).

 

 7 September 2015 – Grandparents Plus appoint new CEO

Lucy Peake 80x105Campaigning charity Grandparents Plus has appointed a new chief executive to champion the role of 200,000 grandparents and kinship carers left bringing up relatives’ children.

Former development director at The Fostering Network Lucy Peake will take up  the position later this month.

Lucy, who spent 12 years at The Fostering Network, said: “I am delighted to be joining Grandparents Plus at such an exciting time. I’m looking forward to working with grandparents and other kinship carers as well as everyone with an interest in supporting them, to make sure that we continue to speak out on the issues that matter, influence policy and practice, and offer vital advice and support.

“Grandparents Plus has an amazing reputation, and it’s one that we will be building on because we are determined to support more carers, their families and children.”

Helen Jackson and Stephen Burke, co-chairs of Grandparents Plus, said: “We are delighted that Lucy Peake will be joining Grandparents Plus as chief executive. Lucy brings a wide range of experience and skills from policy-making to fundraising as well as charity management and development in our sector.

“Grandparents Plus has grown considerably in recent years and it’s an exciting time for Lucy to join us. We are sure she will lead Grandparents Plus to further success as we extend our reach, influence and services to help give all children a good start in life with the care and support of their grandparents and the wider family.”

  • Download press release here.

 

16 July 2015 – Grandparents Plus and The Grandparents’ Association plan to create a new joint organisation

Over the last few month the boards of The Grandparents’ Association and Grandparents Plus have been exploring the potential to combine the resources of the two charities to create a new organisation to focus on the needs of grandparents and the wider family.

Both charities have explored the benefits of a merger which include:

The power of one

One vision, one voice, one point of contact, one source of expertise, research, advice and support – the sum will be greater than the parts.

A better deal for beneficiaries

A louder voice, more influence, greater reach, bigger membership and peer network. An increased offer with more support and services for the 14 million grandparents and the wider family. Campaigning with and celebrating and supporting 14 million grandparents and wider family members will help get a better deal for those who are kinship carers or who have contact issues.

The best use of limited resources

No competition for funding and easier for funders, stakeholders and other partners – and grandparents, parents and the wider public to understand and support.

At board meetings of both organisations held this week agreement was reached on the merits of creating a new organisation. The charities are now planning to undertake full due diligence with the aim of merging in October 2015.

 

23 June 2015 – Thousands of traumatised children failed by state in time of greatest need, charity claims

People suddenly left caring for traumatised young relatives because a parent has died or can no longer act as a carer are in for a shock when they try to access state support, a survey reveals today.

The Survation poll shows how the British public expects financial support, counselling and time off work to handle the family crisis – when in reality there is no individual entitlement to support of any kind in almost all cases.

It highlights how:

  • 80% agree that they should be entitled to be assessed for financial support from their local authority with 34% believing this is currently available.
  • 83% agree that they should have access to services such as counselling for them or for the child. 36% believe this is currently available.
  • Almost three quarters (73%) agree that they should be entitled to a period of time off work without having to give up their job. 22% believe this is available.
  • Almost 9 in 10 (88%) agree they should be considered first as a carer for the child instead of them being placed in foster care or adopted with 39% believing this is the current process.

The findings reveals the gulf between expectation and the reality of what is actually available to the 200,000 grandparents and other family carers who find themselves in this situation raising up to 300,000 traumatised children across the UK.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said:

“Its appalling that so many traumatised children and their carers are left unsupported. Our poll shows that people expect these services to be available in a crisis or tragedy, but the harsh truth is they aren’t.”

Julia O’Hara, grandmother who has a Special Guardianship Order for her grandchildren said:

“It has been a constant battle for support since my husband and I took on the care of our grandchildren eight years ago. I had to give up work and we fought for two years to gain some financial support. One of my grandchildren is on the autistic spectrum and so has extra needs – but when we ask for support we are basically told to just get on with it. I know that if we were looking after children who were not family we would get all the support we so desperately need. It’s just not fair.”

  • Read the full press release here
  • The full Survation polling tables can be read here

 

20 April 2015 – Grandparents Plus Chief Executive announces departure

Sam Smethers, who has been Chief Executive of campaigning charity Grandparents Plus since 2008 has today announced that she will be leaving the charity at the end of July to take up the post of Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society.

Under Sam’s leadership Grandparents Plus has grown considerably and become a significant and influential voice in the family and children’s sectors, publishing authoritative evidence and calling for recognition for the vital role that grandparents play in children’s lives. It has also established and developed valued services for grandparents and family (kinship) carers who are raising children in the absence of parents with a peer support network reaching 6,200 and an advice and information service now advising well over 1,000 kinship carers each year. Smethers was herself brought up by her grandparents.

Sam Smethers said

“I am truly sad to be leaving Grandparents Plus and all the people in it. We have a team of amazing staff, dedicated, supportive trustees and wonderful volunteers and Network members. I have devoted the past six and a half years to building the charity and establishing it as a credible, distinctive voice in the sector. I am pleased that the charity is in a stronger position now than it has ever been. But this has only been possible because it has been a real team effort.”

Read the full press release here

 

15 April 2015 – Grandparents Plus welcomes pledge by Labour to consult on allowing parents to transfer unpaid parental leave to grandparents.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said

“Grandparents are the hidden army of carers in Britain today. We know that 1 in 5 working parents – 2 million of them – would give up work without grandparents to rely on.  But increasingly grandparents are working too. So this policy is also a win for employers as it helps both parents and grandparents stay in work.”

Notes:
Grandparents Plus regularly commissions and publishes research. It was a recent Grandparents Plus Survation poll that found that one in five working parents would give up their jobs if they didn’t have grandparents to rely on. The poll also found that a further 20 per cent would reduce their hours. Another Grandparents Plus poll in partnership with Family and Childcare Trust and Save the Children, found that 14 per cent (1.9 million) of grandparents had either given up a job, reduced their hours or taken days off sick to provide childcare.

You can read Labour’s manifesto for women here.

 

16 March 2015 – 2 million parents would give up work without grandparents’ help poll reveals

Grandparents Plus calls for unpaid leave for grandparents to prevent parents dropping out of the labour market.

Campaigning charity Grandparents Plus has today published a poll showing just how dependent on grandparents working mums and dads really are.  The Survation poll finds that 1 in 5 working parents (19%) would give up work if they no longer had grandparents to rely on for childcare.  With 10.8million working parents in the UK that would mean more than 2 million having to give up their jobs. The figure rises to 22% of working mums who say they would give up work and a further 20% who would reduce their hours.  15% of dads say they would give up work and a further 11% would cut back on hours.

The poll also finds:

  • 6 in 10 (59%) parents agree, 1 in 4 (24%) strongly agree that it should be possible for parents to share periods of unpaid parental leave with a grandparent who may be helping with childcare
  • 44% of parents who responded said they would be most likely to turn to their mum if there was a problem in their family. Overall 1 in 3 (33%) of all respondents would be most likely to turn to their mum and 10% would turn to their dad.
  • 21% of parents say they would pay for childcare if they didn’t have a grandparent to rely on.

Sam Smethers said:

“1 in 3 working parents rely on grandparents for childcare but what are the political parties offering grandparents? It is often younger grandmothers who provide the intensive childcare support and they are at risk of dropping out of the labour market. But we are also seeing Granddads doing more too.  If we want grandparents to work longer and care more for children we need to give them the flexibility to do it.

“Many parents don’t take all of the unpaid leave they are entitled to.  But if they could share it with a grandparent this would help hard pressed working grandparents to juggle work and care and our poll shows parents back our call.

“As an increasing number of grandparents stay in work until their mid sixties and older we will see more working parents at risk of losing the childcare they rely so heavily on.  This will see mothers dropping out of the labour market and our economy cannot afford that.”

Download the press release and polling tables in full below.

 

10 February 2015 – Grandparents Plus responds to Labour’s policy announcement on kinship care

Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt MP has today committed Labour to:

  • giving vulnerable children in kinship care priority school admissions – extending this to children on Special Guardianship Orders
  • strengthening statutory guidance on vulnerable children so that family and friends are properly consulted and the courts and local authorities understand when and how to use Family Group Conferences
  • issuing new guidance to local authorities on supporting kinship carers through support groups.
  • abolishing the ‘Bedroom Tax’ which is having an adverse impact on kinship carers.

Responding to the announcement Sam Smethers Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said:

“There are some important changes here which would make a real difference to kinship carers and the children they care for and we very much welcome them.

“But if we want to prevent children ending up in care and support them properly the new government will need to require local authorities to consider the wider family first, ensure support is based on the needs of the child not their legal status and give kinship carers similar rights and entitlements to those who adopt.”

 

29 December 2014 – “A towering figure has gone” – Jean Stogdon OBE has died

Grandparents Plus is today mourning the loss of Co-Chair, Co-Founder and social pioneer Jean Stogdon OBE who has died.  Jean passed away on Christmas Day after a period of ill health.

Jean co-founded Grandparents Plus in 2001 with social entrepreneur Michael Young with whom she shared a belief that the role of the wider family was not sufficiently recognised, valued or supported.  Together with Michael, Jean set about changing that. But tragically Michael died in 2002 so Jean had to carry Grandparents Plus forward without him.

In 2001 after Grandparents Plus was founded Michael Young wrote: “Grandparents Plus – my last and possibly my best.”

Stephen Burke, Co-Chair of Grandparents Plus said:

“Without Jean Stogdon there would have been no Grandparents Plus. The charity has put grandparents on the policy and practice agenda and is driving forward change to secure significant recognition and support for kinship carers. None of this would have happened without Jean’s leadership, energy and single-mindedness.”

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus said:

“We are all deeply saddened to lose Jean. She was a towering figure in the family sector and the social work profession and achieved national and international profile for her work.

“But above all she was a social worker at heart, a people person with huge warmth and care for everyone she met. Certainly challenging at times, but always supportive.”

You can download the press release in full below and read the Guardian obituary written by Yvonne Roberts here