The Department for Education has today published new figures (Children looked after in England including adoption) which show a rise in the number of children entering an already overstretched care system. This crisis will only get worse until proper investment is made in establishing a fit for purpose kinship care system, which doesn’t unnecessarily push children into local authority care when there are loving relatives or family friends who could raise them with the right support.
Investment in kinship care would also give local authorities increased resources to support those children for whom kinship care is less likely to be an option, such as the growing number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Unlike foster carers, most kinship carers do not receive financial support for the child they are caring for and this has pushed increasing numbers of children being raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, other relatives or family friends into poverty.
Our recent report, Breaking Point: kinship carers in crisis, revealed that 12% of kinship carers are concerned they may no longer be able to raise the children in their care in the next year if their situation doesn’t improve, putting an estimated 19,000 children at immediate risk of entering the care system. The impact of this, on children, families, and the public purse, would be devastating.
With the Government’s first Kinship Care Strategy expected next month, it is imperative that next week’s Autumn Statement includes funding to ensure that all the kinship families willing to step up and raise children in loving and permanent homes are able to do so.