Kinship, the leading, national charity for kinship carers in England and Wales, has been awarded an 18-month contract by the Department for Education to develop a training and support programme for kinship carers in England.
In early 2023, Kinship welcomed the Government’s response to Josh McAlister’s Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, which included a commitment to developing an ambitious National Kinship Care Strategy and investing in information, support and training for kinship carers.
After a competitive tender process, Kinship has been awarded the contract, worth £3m, by the Department for Education, to develop a training and support programme for kinship carers in England. This contract will see Kinship lead a national programme delivering online and in-person training, supported by resources on Kinship Compass, the information and advice hub for kinship carers that Kinship launched earlier this year.
Drawing on the charity’s extensive experience, expertise and insights, and the stories and aspirations of kinship carers who play a central role in shaping all of Kinship’s work, including the development of the proposal for this new training programme, Kinship will engage kinship carers in communities across England with online and in-person workshops, supporting by new digital resources.
The training and support programme will be co-designed alongside kinship carers and will be made available to all kinship carers in England regardless of legal order. It will provide kinship carers with preparatory support at the beginning of their kinship care journey, as well as options for ongoing support.
Kinship is particularly keen to engage with carers who have been under-served, including informal carers and carers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities and will be partnering with national and local organisations in order to provide the right support, at the right time, for kinship carers across England.
Partners who will play a key role in working with Kinship and kinship carers to design and deliver online and offline sessions to support carers at different points of their kinship care journeys will include the National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH), BookTrust, Anna Freud, Place2Be and Kinship Carers Liverpool.
Kinship’s CEO Dr Lucy Peake said:
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to develop a programme of online and in-person training, supported by resources on Kinship Compass, for kinship carers in England. We are looking forward to working alongside kinship carers to develop a kinship-carer centred programme, complemented by Kinship’s national Peer Support Service, Kinship’s Advice Service which helps thousands of carers each year, and the ground-breaking Kinship Compass online hub, that provides practical and emotional support at every stage of a kinship carer’s journey.
“This is not a responsibility we take lightly; we know that kinship carers have felt overlooked and undervalued, and many have waited years for change to a system which too often does not provide them or their children with the support they need. There’s much for us to do to develop and roll out an ambitious training and support service, and ensure we help as many kinship carers in England as we can. We’re committed to rising to this challenge and working collaboratively with local authority, education and voluntary sector partners to do this.
“We look forward to hearing more from the Government about how it will invest the rest of the £9 million it committed for training and support for kinship carers. In the meantime, we will continue to press Government to live up to the other ambitions set out in its Stable Homes Built On Love publication earlier this year. We urge them to deliver a National Kinship Care Strategy which provides all kinship carers with the financial, practical and emotional support that truly values the love they give to children they step up to raise. In particular, we are calling for the Strategy to address the inequalities between kinship families and foster families in relation to access to financial allowances and therapeutic support for children.”