Today sees the publication of the final report and recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England. Chaired by Josh MacAlister, the Review has spent the past 14 months hearing from kinship carers and many others with different personal and professional experiences of children’s social care.
Its recommendations represent a pivotal moment for kinship care and for the thousands of grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings, friends and others who step up to raise children when their parents are unable to.
Finally, the experiences of kinship families across the country have been recognised and their voices reflected in the Review’s radical rearticulation of how the state should support children within their wider family network.
What does the report recommend?
Many of the recommendations represent significant campaigning wins for Kinship and for kinship carers across the country who have fought for decades to access improved financial, practical and emotional support. They include:
- provision of a financial allowance for kinship carers with a legal order;
- a right to paid leave for new carers on a par with adoption leave;
- improved access to legal aid and advice;
- a requirement for local authorities to develop training and peer support; and
- proposals for new Family Network Plans to flexibly fund and support family members to care for a child.
Whilst we’re pleased to see that the Review has listened to kinship carers and made these significant recommendations, we were disappointed to see that our calls for kinship children to have priority access to education and mental and physical health support on a par with children in the care system were not included within the recommendations.
For more information on the Review’s recommendations, our verdict and what we think should happen next, visit our kinship care policy tracker.
Kinship has been at the forefront of supporting kinship carers to share their views and expertise with the Review and were delighted to work alongside the Review team to bring 20 years of evidence from our research, programme delivery and work on the ground with kinship families and local authorities to their thinking.
What happens now?
The Government will consider the Review’s recommendations and respond in due course with its intended plans.
It’s vital that the Government matches the ambition of the Review and proceeds at pace with its plans for reforming kinship care. It has already shared its initial measures in response, including establishing a National Implementation Board and developing a National Children’s Social Care Framework.
During this week and in the coming months, we’ll be amplifying reactions and comments from our community of kinship carers via our social media channels and website, and ensuring their views reach the decision makers responsible for making the Review’s recommendations a reality.
We will be continuing to campaign together with kinship carers to hold the Government to account and ensure they deliver on urgent support and long-term reforms for all kinship families across England and Wales. If you’re a kinship carer and you want to join us and campaign for change, please sign up to our Kinship community for updates.
“This once in a lifetime review of children’s social care marks a seismic change for kinship care. Finally, kinship carers – ‘the silent and unheard majority in the children’s social care system’ are being recognised and prioritised for the support they deserve. We’re delighted that the voices of the 150,000+ grandparents, aunties, uncles, siblings and friends raising children in England have at last been heard.
In times of crisis, kinship carers step up to provide children with a loving and stable home when their parents aren’t able to, benefitting families and society by preventing children going into the care system unnecessarily.
It makes sense to invest in kinship care. Financial support in particular will help make it possible for children to grow up and thrive within a well-supported family network.
However, as well as guaranteeing comprehensive support for families to thrive in the future, thousands of kinship families desperately need our help today. The Government must act with urgency to deliver financial, practical and emotional support for all carers and their children. We’re committed to campaigning together with kinship carers to ensure today’s Review becomes a springboard to a future in which kinship families are recognised, valued and supported.“