Our State of the Nation 2017 survey shines a spotlight on the challenges faced by kinship carers – grandparents and other family members who’ve taken on the care of children who aren’t able to live with their parents.

The survey is based on a survey completed by over 650 kinship carers. This shows that despite many carers stepping in to care for children who would have otherwise gone into local authority care, only one in ten feel they’re getting the support they need.

Key findings include:

  • 52% of the children in kinship care have experienced abuse or neglect

  • The average household income for kinship families is just £17,316, compared to the national average of £27,200 [1]

  • 47% of carers say they are not getting the financial support they need, including 28% who feel very poorly supported

  • 65% of carers say they need more emotional support

There are an estimated 180,000 children in the care of relatives in the UK [2], and it’s likely that up to 95% of carers are not entitled to any statutory support.

In light of the findings from the survey we go on to make a series of recommendations for future policy and practice. These include reviewing the status of children in kinship care to be closer to that of looked after children in relation to the immensely difficult circumstances they often face. In addition to this the importance of advice and support for kinship carers is highlighted as well as calling for greater financial support and increased awareness of these complex situations.

Click here to view the State of the Nation 2017 Survey

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/bulletins/nowcastinghouseholdincomeintheuk/financialyearending2017

[2] Wijedasa, 2017. University of Bristol, available at: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/kinship/