Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, calling for kinship carers to receive support during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Supporters of the cross-party Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care have highlighted to the Prime Minister the specific challenges faced by kinship carers during these difficult times. 200,000 children in the United Kingdom do not live with their parents. They are instead being raised by their relatives, including grandparents and friends, who make up a vital element of the child social care system.
Half of kinship carers are grandparents; a proportion of them are aged over 70. Kinship carers of all ages are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions. Their vulnerability to the Coronavirus is clear. Their children are also vulnerable, with many having suffered from tragedy and trauma.
In the letter, MPs have called upon the Prime Minister to:
- Increase support by working directly with the Kinship Care Alliance to provide emotional, financial and legal advice, and supermarkets to prioritise deliveries for kinship carers and the parents of disabled children
- Improve access to justice for kinship carers as a matter of urgency
- Reduce financial hardship by introducing a new local Kinship Care Crisis Fund, removing or at least increasing the limit of the benefit cap, and suspending the bedroom tax for those self-isolating
- Supporting the education of children in kinship care by ensuring that they are offered childcare and school places, and broadband and electronic devices to support home learning
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Our amazing kinship carers are often the forgotten lifeline of the child social care system in this country.
“They are particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus pandemic, not only physically, but also emotionally, financially and legally.
“This is why I am proud to have signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister, calling for better kinship carer support during these difficult times.”