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.”