Campaigning kinship carers in Middlesbrough and Newcastle this week celebrated the success of a year-long project to secure better support, advice and information for kinship families who step up to care for a child when their parents are unable to.
Local kinship carers have been lobbying for clear and easily accessible advice and support for family members and friends who make huge sacrifices to keep children within a secure, safe and loving family, often at a moment’s notice.
Unlike foster carers, kinship carers are not entitled to the same financial, emotional and practical support for raising a child. Across England and Wales there are more than double the number of children looked after in kinship care than in foster care.
The project run by the charity Kinship and funded by the Triangle Trust 1949 Fund, was designed to empower kinship carers by training them how to campaign to create positive change for kinship carers in their areas. Their learnings will spearhead a national campaign later this year to empower kinship carers across England and Wales to campaign for better recognition and support.
Kinship campaigner spokesperson, Janice Santos said:
“Often kinship families look after a child in times of crisis and having easy access to information and support is so important during what is often a very stressful and chaotic time.
“Our campaigners have successfully lobbied MPs, Mayors and local authorities in the area to commit to raising awareness around kinship care, providing better training for social workers and ensuring they have access to improved information and support.
“Although this is the end of the project, it is just the beginning of our independent campaigning to empower more kinship carers in the region. The campaign groups are determined that they will continue to be listened to, so that all kinship carers receive the support they need.”
Kinship CEO, Dr Lucy Peake said:
“I’m delighted that our passionate and committed campaigning kinship groups have made a real positive difference for other kinship families in their areas and have enjoyed an opportunity to celebrate their many successes. I congratulate and thank them all for their valuable work, which will help inform and drive our national campaign to empower all kinship families.
“This project shows that by encouraging and enabling kinship carers to campaign, their voices are now being heard by those in power. Kinship families who give up so much to keep children in loving families, urgently need clear and easy to access information and better support and advice.
“We’re committed to campaigning together with kinship carers in the North East and nationally to ensure more families get the financial, practical and emotional support they deserve. We won’t rest until all kinship families feel recognised, valued and supported by their local authorities and by the Government.”
More than 162,400 children in England and Wales are growing up in kinship care. The North East has seen the sharpest rise in child poverty since 2014/15 and now has the highest rate of child poverty in the country, according to new figures published this week by End Child Poverty, a coalition of poverty charities.
Picture caption: Kinship carers from the area came together to celebrate their successes at two eventsin Newcastle at Heaton Community Centre, Trewhitt Road and the TAD Centre in Middlesbrough.
Notes to Editors:
Kinship is the leading kinship care charity in England and Wales. We’re here for all kinship carers. The family members and friends who step up to raise children when their parents aren’t able to. We want every kinship family to have the recognition, value and support they need and deserve.
We offer kinship carers financial, legal, practical and emotional support and understanding from the moment they need it, for as long as they need it. Our expert advice, information and guidance helps with complicated and stressful decisions that so many kinship families have to make. We’re always there to support them through difficult times and celebrate the good. Kinship carers are strong and determined. Together, they are powerful.
We help them build communities of support and action by connecting families locally and across England and Wales. We’re at the heart of kinship networks, partnering with and influencing service providers, local and national government and other organisations. We give everything we have to fight for each family and their rights, changing society until every kinship family is recognised, valued and supported.
Kinship carers in Newcastle and Middlesbrough are available for interview Media@kinship.org.uk