Published today (Friday 1 July), Kinship’s 2022 financial allowances survey shows that kinship families are struggling to afford basic household essentials.
Last year, we carried out the first ever survey of kinship families’ financial circumstances in England and Wales. This year’s survey results show that the situation for kinship families is getting worse. As the cost of living continues to soar, we need to see urgent action to prevent many more families from being plunged into poverty. We found that:
- 44% of kinship carers could not pay all their household bills.
- 26% could not afford food for their families.
- 35% could not afford clothes for their children.
- 18% could not keep up with rent or mortgage payments.
- 33% of carers were concerned that their financial situations might eventually prevent them from being able to continue to care for their children.
The cost of doing the right thing
When kinship carers step up to care for a child, they take on full financial responsibility for them. Their efforts keep thousands of children safe and loved within their family network, but it comes at significant cost. Many carers are forced to reduce their working hours or give up work completely to care for the child and will face extreme financial pressures as a result.
Kinship carer Laura, 33 from West Sussex, who is raising her two half siblings said:
“I’ve survived on food banks, school food vouchers and family help. I don’t have any spare money – it all goes on gas and electricity bills which have gone up from £91 to £200 per month.
I’m now in arrears with the rent because I’m struggling to pay the energy bills and I’m getting threatening letters from the housing department saying debit collectors will come round.
The children need new school uniforms and other essentials but I’m having to cut those to keep the debt collectors from the door. If I’d received a financial allowance, it would have made a huge difference to all our lives and given us a sense of financial security.
We willingly give up our lives to keep families together, but we need the Government to recognise kinship carers and give us the financial and emotional support we all need.”
“It’s deeply shocking that kinship carers are doing their very best to keep children with the people who love them but can’t afford to buy them daily essentials like food and clothes as they are left to manage with no financial support.
Pushed into poverty, the financial strain means many kinship families are worried they may have to give up the care of the children. This would be a massive tragedy that is entirely preventable.
We know it’s best for children to stay within their own families where they are loved, safe and secure rather than go into the care system but raising a child costs money. It’s only right that kinship carers receive the same non-means tested financial support as foster carers.
The Government must act with urgency and implement the recommendations made by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and provide kinship carers and their children with the financial support they clearly so desperately need.”
Dr Lucy PeakeChief Executive, Kinship
Kinship Care Bill – Tues 5 July
We have been delighted to work with Munira Wilson MP on the development of a Kinship Care Bill, including the provision of financial allowances and employment leave. Munira will be presenting the Bill in the Commons on Tuesday 5 July; this is a fantastic opportunity to push the government and ask them to step up to support kinship carers when they publish their response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care later this year.