The challenges and complexities facing kinship families are unique. The children being brought up in kinship care have often faced trauma and neglect and their needs emerge over time and are ongoing. Kinship carers are likely to be older, in poorer health, and struggling financially.

These challenges may continue with difficult contact arrangements and ongoing, changing circumstances creating housing, financial and other hardships. Many kinship carers experience isolation due to the unique pressures of bringing up a child in kinship care.
Kinship carers should be entitled to request an assessment of their family’s support needs from the local authority at any time they feel is necessary. This support should include:

  • Financial support available wherever the kinship carer lives, with a national minimum allowance to cover the costs of bringing up a child in kinship care and exemption from the benefits cap.
  • One to one and peer support arranged and supported by local authorities or voluntary agencies in each local authority regardless of the legal order the kinship carer has for the child they are raising.
  • Contact arrangements between the child being brought up in kinship care and their parents, siblings or other family members supported to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.
  • Suitable housing recognising the suddenly changing needs of a kinship family with priority adaption and provision from the local authority and with exemption from policies such as the bedroom tax
  • Training which is tailored and specific made available for kinship carers who feel they might benefit
  • Targeted support for all children and young people in kinship care including the extension of the Adoption Support Fund and Pupil Premium Plus to all children living permanently with a kinship carer.

Support should continue beyond the child’s 18th birthday to lessen potential restrictions on the choices facing young people who have grown up in kinship care as they gain their independence or in accessing higher education. This is essential for disabled children moving to adulthood when the kinship child (now adult) isn’t able to live independently.