The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, publicly praised the contribution of the nation’s kinship carers for the first time today, during Prime Ministers Questions at Westminster.
National charity Kinship has celebrated the “long-awaited recognition of kinship carers who have demonstrated, for decades, the value of raising children within their family network.”
Kinship care is when someone steps up to raise the child of a family member or friend, because the child’s parents are not able to. There are estimated to be more than 130,000 children being raised in kinship care in England, more than twice the number in foster care.
Alistair Strathern, the Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire, asked the Prime Minister: “Will the Prime Minister meet with me and kinship carers in my constituency, who step up when a vulnerable child needs them most, to discuss how the government’s kinship strategy can go further faster, and why Bedfordshire would be a great location for planned pilots?”
The Prime Minister responded: “Can I pay tribute to all kinships carers for the incredible work they do. I’d be very happy to review plans the Honourable Gentleman mentioned and make sure that Ministers have a look at them too. As I said, I pay tribute to kinship carers in his constituency and elsewhere that are doing a terrific job and in Government we are looking at ways we can support them further and we’ll continue to do that.”
Dr Lucy Peake, CEO of leading kinship care charity, Kinship, said: “The Government’s first ever National Kinship Care Strategy for England has delivered long-awaited recognition of kinship carers who have demonstrated, for decades, the value of raising children within their family network. However, the investment and commitments made in the Strategy falls short of the ambitious and wholesale reform needed to establish a new kinship care system.
“We’re grateful to Alistair Strathern MP for his support for kinship carers in Mid Bedfordshire, and for pushing the Prime Minister today in Parliament to go further and faster with reform plans and listen closely to the views of kinship carers on what needs to change.
“We also owe huge thanks to Bedfordshire kinship carers, such as Amanda and Carol, two wonderful Kinship volunteers who run local peer support groups so that kinship carers can build long lasting friendships, share experiences and get emotional support.”
Leading kinship care charity, Kinship, supports more than 10,000 kinship carers across England and Wales each year, through free training sessions, one-to-one support, peer support groups, an expert advice line and their online information and support hub.
Through its network of kinship carer campaigners, Kinship raises awareness of the challenges facing kinship families, and fights to get kinship carers the recognition and support they deserve through its #ValueOurLove campaign. For more information or support, visit kinship.org.uk