Support for special guardians during the COVID-19 pandemic
Why we offer this service
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already precarious situation of many special guardians and other kinship carers who are often older, poorer, with significant health concerns and raising traumatised children in difficult circumstances. Since the lockdown began, Grandparents Plus has been surveying kinship carers’ concerns and quickly developed Kinship Response – an agency membership service that regional adoption agencies, and local authorities that aren’t in a regional adoption agency, can commission to support special guardians and other kinship carers in their areas.
Key concerns identified by kinship carers include:
Health concerns – what will happen to the children if they get coronavirus or die
Financial concerns – loss of income due to reduced hours or jobs being cut and higher energy and food bills.
Lack of support – less support now, less able to work with the schools closed.
Child’s well-being – mental & physical health, the pressure of home-schooling and keeping children occupied.
Self-isolation – how to manage with children, confusion and conflicting advice.
Getting basic supplies – effects of panic buying and getting prescriptions.
Lack of information – confusion on what they should do and how to manage.
Contact with family members – maintaining hygiene and effect on arrangements.
Who can access the service?
For existing memberships commissioned through the COVID-19 funding from the Adoption Support Fund, access is restricted to all eligible special guardians within the local authorities that are members of the commissioning regional adoption agency (RAA). For new memberships purchased directly through the local authority or RAA, all kinship carers can access the member benefits, regardless of legal order.
If you work for one of our member local authorities and wish to make a referral for a special guardian please click here.
If you are a special guardian or other kinship carer and would like to self-refer please click here.
What’s included in the membership?
Our 12-month Kinship Membership gives all kinship carers in your local authority or area, regardless of legal order, access to the following:
Advice and information
- Priority access to our Kinship Advice service, including advice and information on issues such as housing, benefits, financial issues, education, family relationships and contact and applications for grants for essential items
- Access to our website, regularly updated with information in relation to COVID-19 and kinship care
- Access to live Facebook advice surgeries and discussion groups
- Lifelong membership of Grandparents Plus Kinship Community of over 8,000 kinship carers
- Access to regional support groups (currently virtual)
- Someone like Me telephone peer support from a trained kinship carer
Support for practitioners
- Membership of our Kinship Professionals network
- Reduced rate on workforce development services
- Branded collateral to promote the service to kinship carers
- Your logo on Grandparents Plus website Then select from Grandparents Plus support services for kinship carers:
In-depth, holistic and local 1:1 intervention targeted at special guardians but can extend to all kinship carers.
A supportive environment for kinship families to get active together.
Online workshops run in collaboration with local authorities, to prepare new special guardians for their role.
Responsive, remote, time limited 1:1 support for kinship carers.
If this sounds interesting for your local authority or RAA, please contact us to arrange a time to discuss your local authority or RAA’s specific needs and potential discounted options.
How our programmes and services make a difference to special guardians and other kinship carers
Outcomes from accessing our programmes and services are likely to include:
- Special guardians feel more confident in fulfilling their caring role
By sharing concerns and experiences with other special guardians’, as well as receiving expert support from signposted organisations, carers feel more confident in carrying out their role as a special guardian.
- Special guardians have an increased sense of wellbeing
Carers’ wellbeing is improved through sharing their stories with others in a similar situation, as well as through support they are able to access through signposting from the group and staff.
- Special guardians have reduced concerns about their children’s wellbeing
Carers feel more able to support the children in their care through sharing their concerns and experiences with peers in the same situation and through support they are able to access for both them and the children in their care.
- Special guardians have reduced feelings of isolation
Carers feel less isolated and part of the kinship care community through attending virtual support groups.
- Special guardians have reduced feelings of loneliness
Carers feel less lonely and part of the kinship care community through attending virtual support groups.
- Special guardians are more able to manage their children’s behaviour
Through sharing their concerns and experiences with peers in a similar situation, as well as through receiving support from organisations they have been signposted to, carers feel more able to manage their children’s behaviour.
- Special guardians feel more able to manage family relationships
Special guardians feel more able to manage family relationships having shared their situations and challenges with peers in a similar situation, as well as from support they have received from specialist organisations they have been signposted to through the programme.
- Special guardians have reduced financial concerns
From the information they have received from peers in a similar situation, support from our advice service and grants that they can apply for through Grandparents Plus, special guardians have reduced financial concerns.
How you can commission Kinship Response membership for your regional adoption agency or local authority?
Kinship Response is available for commissioning. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.