Understanding the complexities of kinship families allows professionals to fully consider experiences and behaviours experienced by children in kinship care.
It is estimated that there are 200,000 children being brought up in kinship families in the UK – that’s roughly three times the number of children in foster care – and it is increasing. The most likely reasons children are being raised in kinship care are because of parental drug and alcohol misuse, domestic abuse, death or imprisonment.
Children in kinship care are twice as likely as average to have a long-term physical health need or disability that limits their day-to-day activities. Many experience behavioural or emotional difficulties linked to their early experiences.
However, unlike foster carers and adoptive parents, kinship carers are often not entitled to support and struggle to access the therapeutic interventions that children and young people need. Three quarters of children growing up in kinship care are growing up in deprived households so they are unable to access this support privately.
Increased understanding of the causes of behaviour enables professionals to consider the range of needs and interventions to support young people along with kinship families during the sentence and in preparation for release.