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.