The Government has published the findings from its public consultation on proposed reforms to children’s social care, which includes kinship care.
Almost half of responses to the Children’s Social Care: Stable Homes, Built on Love consultation, which was undertaken in spring this year, were from kinship carers who grasped this important opportunity to share their views and expertise regarding the urgent changes needed to address the severe lack of financial, emotional and practical support for kinship families.
A key priority for kinship carers in the consultation, acknowledged by the Government in its response, is the bedrock of financial support needed for kinship families to thrive. Kinship carers strongly advocated for equalised financial support between kinship carers and foster carers which remains a key demand for Kinship’s #ValueOurLove campaign.
Kinship’s CEO, Dr Lucy Peake said: “The sheer weight of responses from kinship carers demonstrates the need to have their voices heard after too many years of being overlooked and undervalued. It’s a testament to their tireless campaigning that kinship care remains a key priority for the Government as it moves towards its new vision for children’s social care in England.
“The message from those who responded to the consultation is clear – the Government must act with urgency to ensure all kinship carers and their children get the financial, practical and emotional support they desperately need.
“Alongside the thousands of kinship carers who have supported our #ValueOurLove campaign, we eagerly await the forthcoming national Kinship Care Strategy, due at the end of the year. This must live up to the promise the Government has made to deliver real and lasting change – particularly in relation to financial allowances and other support for kinship families – and we will continue to hold the Government to account on its progress following the commitments made in Stable Homes, Built on Love which was published earlier this year.
“It’s right that the Government is committed to continuing to hear from kinship carers and others who have lived experience of children’s social care, the importance of which was raised by many kinship carers and other respondents within the consultation. We hope the forthcoming Strategy will outline further plans in this space.”
Kinship also welcomes recognition of the need to improve practical and emotional support for kinship carers from local authority and children’s social care professionals, to relate any new definition of kinship care clearly to support for those families, and to ensure that delivery is more consistent across the country.
As Stable Homes outlined, local authorities don’t have to wait to act. The national Kinship Care Strategy should outline the immediate steps the Government will be taking to support and encourage local authorities to pioneer improved support for kinship families ahead of future legislative action. Kinship families can’t wait, and they need the Government to step up, just as they have done to keep children safe within their family networks.
This was one of the broadest consultations ever undertaken on children’s social care with kinship care one of its main priorities. The consultation was open to the public between March and May this year and Kinship led the way in supporting kinship carers to feed in their views, holding group consultation sessions and developing online guidance and resources to support individuals to respond themselves. Thank you to all of those who generously gave up their time and made their voice heard. We will continue to challenge the Government to listen and act upon what they have heard.
For further information, please visit our kinship care policy tracker here.
Kinship’s submission to the Department for Education’s consultation on the Stable Homes: Built on Love strategy is here.