Today (Thurs 24 Mar), Kinship is delighted to launch our new report – Out of the Shadows – which sets out our vision for a radically reformed kinship care system in England. We’re calling for better support for kinship carers and their children and imploring the Chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care to consider these recommendations as he prepares to report to Government.
What changes do we want to see?
The urgent changes demanded by the report include:
- Guaranteed financial support for all kinship carers, including immediate support to help a child settle in, as well as access to a universal, standard, non means tested allowance that matches the current national minimum fostering allowance. This also includes introducing a right to paid kinship care leave on a par with adoption leave.
- Access to independent information and advice that is clear, accessible, and relevant to the needs of each kinship family and their challenges. This includes free legal advice.
- Improved practical and emotional support for all kinship families. This includes health, education, and therapeutic support for children as well as preparation and training, practical, emotional and therapeutic support, peer support, and support with contact for carers.
The report also makes the case for a future fit for kinship care, calling for:
- Further research and data collection so we know exactly how many kinship families there are, where they are, what support they need, and how best to help them.
- Legal rights for all kinship carers to ensure all carers have access to legal aid and a role in legal proceedings.
- Policy making and public services that understand kinship care. This means asking health, education and other public services which have direct contact with kinship families to consider how these services will meet their needs.
- A plan to raise awareness of kinship care amongst professionals and the public.
- Workforce development to establish specialist kinship care teams in local authorities and make sure all social workers and other professionals working with kinship families have the training they need to support them.
“With a long-term strategy and the right investment kinship care should thrive as a place of safety, security and aspiration for even more children who would otherwise be in the care system. It’s time for the Government to step up and act, just as thousands of kinship carers do every year for children who cannot live with their parents.”