Kinship is today launching a major new project, supported by the KPMG Foundation, to deepen understanding about the experiences of kinship families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in order to catalyse positive changes in its services and across the sector.
Existing evidence shows that kinship care is more prevalent in Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Children from these backgrounds are more likely to be in informal kinship care, where entitlements to support are at the most limited. However, there is a major gap in contemporary research on the prevalence and experience of kinship carers in these communities.
The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care highlighted addressing this research gap as a priority and we are grateful to be supported by the KPMG Foundation to undertake this research, the results of which will be published in September 2024.
Kinship is working with academic partner The Rees Centre at the University of Oxford to better understand the prevalence and reasons why children are in kinship care in these communities, as well as the challenges they face.
The research team will be led by Dr Priya Tah and supported by Professor Julie Selwyn.
Dr Priya Tah is of South Asian heritage and can speak both Hindi and Punjabi. She has over 10 years of experience in conducting qualitative research specifically with vulnerable groups, including children and young people accessing mental health care, foster children and foster carers (including kinship carers) from minority ethnic communities.
Professor Julie Selwyn is a leading children’s social care academic who has researched within this area of study for 30 years. She completed the first analysis of Census data that identified the number of children in informal kinship care and the extent of poverty their carers faced.
Once analysis of the research has taken place, Kinship will work with a social design agency, kinship carers and sector representatives to share insight and co-produce plans about the best ways to reach and improve support and services for kinship carers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic families.
Kinship’s CEO, Dr Lucy Peake said: “As the largest provider of kinship care support services in England and Wales, Kinship’s work is informed by evidence. However, the dearth of research and understanding about kinship care families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities means that we, and others, have gaps in our knowledge when developing services to meet the needs of these families. This is leaving thousands of vulnerable kinship families without support that is tailored to their specific needs and experiences.
“We’re delighted to be working with Dr Priya Tah and Professor Julie Selwyn and a Research Advisory Group that includes kinship carers, social workers, community development workers, and academics with expertise in kinship care, race and ethnicity and inequalities. Really importantly, we want to involve kinship carers throughout the project. We’re committed not only to ensuring that it informs the development of our own services but to working with local authorities and others to improve the design and delivery of services for Black, Asian and minority ethnic kinship families.
“We would like to thank the KPMG Foundation for their generous support and shared commitment to our vision of a society where all kinship carers and the children they care for are recognised, valued and supported.”
KPMG Foundation’s CEO, Judith McNeill said: “As the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England highlighted, there is a real urgency in addressing the lack of research into the experience of Black, Asian and minority ethnic kinship families, as the focus on improving support for kinship care grows.
“The KPMG Foundation is proud to be supporting this work to deepen understanding and influence the development of services across the sector that are inclusive and responsive to the diversity of the thousands of kinship families who do so much for the children they care for but are so often overlooked.”
For updates on this research please see Raising someone else’s child: The experiences of Black and Asian kinship carers in London and the Midlands.