Family and Friends care agenda for action

Family and friends care agenda for action
There are around 200,000 children in the United Kingdom who cannot live with their parents and are being brought up by grandparents, older siblings, other relatives or friends. The reasons vary and include parental, mental or physical ill health, domestic abuse, alcohol or substance misuse, imprisonment or bereavement. There are also some children in the care system for whom the option of being raised by members of their wider family or friendship network has been too readily dismissed or even overlooked altogether.

Research evidence tells us that children raised by family and friends carers (also known as kinship care) have suffered similar adverse experiences in the past as those living with unrelated carers in the care system. Many family and friends carers suffer severe financial hardship as a result of raising a child in their family, as they may have to leave paid work, or cut their hours. The children and their family and friends carers often receive little or no support.

Despite this, most children in family and friends care are doing better than children in unrelated care – in particular they feel more secure and have fewer emotional and behavioural problems and are also doing better academically. Nevertheless the lack of support puts some placements at risk.

The Kinship Care Alliance is an informal network of organisations and academics. We are asking for your support for our campaign so that:
  • Children who cannot live with their parents are able to grow up within their wider family wherever possible, taking account of children's wishes and feelings.
  • Children living in family and friends care are not overlooked and get the support they desperately need.
  • Family and friends carer households are not plunged into poverty when they take on a kinship care child and are assisted not penalised by the benefits and welfare system.
  • Family and friends carers have access to free legal advice and information services to protect the children.
  • Family and friends carers are enabled to stay in work and not forced to give up their jobs when taking on the care of the children.
Please make your views known to your local parliamentary candidates via emailing them using this site. Your letter will have more impact if you include any personal reasons why this subject is important to you. If you are a practitioner you may want to explain that you have experience of working in this field.

You can read more here.

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