The Government has made its first ever major commitment to supporting kinship families.
The Government’s new plan for children’s social care, published Thursday 2 February, places kinship care front and centre to supporting children and families throughout England. This includes a new kinship care strategy to be delivered by the end of the year and a £9 million national programme of tailored support and training for kinship carers.
However, we have also warned that the Government must commit to properly funding local authorities to deliver these reforms; the overall level of investment committed to today for children’s social care falls far short of what is required.
Building on years of tireless campaigning by kinship carers, last year Kinship launched the #ValueOurLove campaign, calling on Government to end the injustice of kinship families not being entitled to the same financial, practical and emotional support as foster and adoptive families. Since then over 11,000 supporters have pressured the Government and MPs to make these proposals a reality and ensure kinship families are no longer overlooked.
Today’s announcement marks a significant first victory for the campaign, in three areas:
- We called for a dedicated kinship care strategy which the Government has pledged to deliver.
- We called for access to training, advice and support for kinship carers, similar to what foster carers can access, and the Government has announced a new £9 million national programme of tailored support and training for kinship carers.
- We called for financial allowances for kinship carers similar to what foster carers receive, and the Government has committed to exploring this.
While these changes mark a step change in support for kinship families, there are aspects of the Government’s plan that don’t go far enough. In particular, we will continue to urge the Government ensure reforms reach all kinship carers, including those without a legal order securing their family arrangement, and that educational and health support is equalised between kinship children and children in local authority care.
Overall it’s vital that these changes move forward at pace, and crucially with the long-term funding local authorities need to help children thrive. Kinship families are struggling today and they urgently need the Government to step up and deliver this support. We will continue to work shoulder to shoulder with kinship carers on our #ValueOurLove campaign.
In the meantime, we want to thank all the kinship carers who have tirelessly campaigned with us for many years, most recently through our #ValueOurLove campaign, Today’s announcement shows that kinship families, who have been overlooked for far too long are finally starting to be recognised. We won’t give up the fight until all kinship families receive the emotional, practical and financial support they desperately need to provide the very best start in life for the children they love.
Thursday 2 February 2023