Every child needs a loving home. That is why when parents can’t look after a child, it’s usually best if they can be brought up by a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, other relative or a family friend. Someone they know, who can provide the love and stability children need, rather than grow up in the care system. This is known as kinship care.
10,000 children in kinship families across Wales know the value of love. But society continues to overlook and undervalue the role of kinship carers in keeping children with the families that know and love them, and out of the care system.
We’re campaigning in Wales to shine a light on the challenges kinship carers face. The Welsh Government has a vision to improve children’s social care – kinship care must be at the heart of their plans. Together we need to raise the profile of kinship care and put pressure on decision-makers to prioritise them as they shape the system.
We’re campaigning in Wales to shine a light on the challenges kinship carers face.
We’re calling for all kinship carers, regardless of their legal status, to receive the same support as mainstream (unrelated) foster carers including financial, practical and emotional support for them and the children they are raising.
Children in kinship care have often had a really difficult start in life. Like those in the wider care system, they have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect, and many have complex mental or physical health needs.
Yet despite these children having experienced similar challenges, most kinship families do not receive any financial, practical or emotional support. Where support is available, it can be very difficult to access and rarely goes far enough to fully meet kinship families’ needs.
Love provides the best value to children, society and the economy – the love and sacrifice of kinship carers saves the public purse millions a year by preventing children from going into mainstream foster care or residential care. Choosing not to value the love of kinship families risks the futures of thousands of children but is also economically short-sighted.
WATCH LISA'S STORY
Lisa is a kinship carer in Wales who’s been campaigning for change. This is her story.
.Kinship families can’t wait for change – too many are already struggling to make ends meet. 4 in 10 kinship carers tell us they are struggling financially and more than 1 in 10 report that they have run out of food in the past week. Love is free, but raising children isn’t.
The cost to kinship carers isn’t just financial, it is borne out of late nights, retirements filled with childcare, sacrificed relationships and missed promotions. Kinship carers are unsung heroes – and act out of love. They’re not asking for praise or special treatment, just equal support for their families.
As a society we can’t go on like this. We need to drastically rethink how we value love by removing barriers and giving kinship carers the support to keep children within their families.
Show your support for kinship families today by joining the #ValueOurLove campaign in Wales – and ensure that all kinship carers have what they need to keep children in the family and out of the care system.
Keep children within their families. Support kinship carers. #ValueOurLove.
For further information about our campaigning in Wales, read more here.