Kinship carers step in to care for children whose parents are unable to look after them and keep families together. It is estimated that there are 200,000 children being brought up by family members or friends – that’s three times the number of children in foster care - and it is increasing.

Kinship care is one of the main ways to provide a sense of security, continuity and belonging for children who cannot live with their parents.

As an alternative to children growing up in the care system, children in kinship care generally have better outcomes. Yet kinship carers tell us that they feel isolated, abandoned and ‘hung out to dry’ compared to the support foster carers and adoptive parents receive and that without proper, ongoing support they are concerned about their ability to continue. If they can't there's a real risk that many more children will enter the care system.

This is why we called on all candidates to pledge their support for:

  1. A Kinship Care Act – kinship care must be recognised in law
  2. Specialist and independent advice – to ensure kinship carers are able to access allowances and benefits they are entitled to, as well as signposting to peer support groups. They also need access to free, independent legal advice in order to make informed decisions about the care arrangements they make for the child
  3. Comprehensive support – specific to the needs of every kinship family as soon as they are asked to look after the child, for as long as they need it. Including financial support, one-to-one and peer support, support with contact, priority housing and targeted support for kinship children.
  4. An informed and supportive network – with a range of agencies, organisations and service providers trained and working together to  provide an integrated response to the challenges of kinship care

You can read our full vision for kinship care here