Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has welcomed the announcement of additional funding for schemes to provide advice and support for kinship carers. The funding package includes:
- £1 million to increase the number of local kinship carers support groups
- Increased funding for Family Rights Group’s free specialist legal and practice advice line
- The Department for Education also announced changes in the recently revised School Admissions Code which includes some children in kinship care arrangements in the priority groups for in-year school admissions.
The announcement follows proposals made last year by the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care, which highlighted the importance of specialist legal and practice advice to help families understand their rights and options when dealing with children’s services and the courts, and also the value of kinship carer peer support groups
There are more than 180,000 children across the UK raised in kinship care – by relatives, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters or family friends who step in to raise children who cannot safely live with their parents.
Gwynne, who is Chair of the All-party parliamentary group on kinship care said:
“Research shows the many benefits to children, who cannot safely live with their parents, of being raised by loving family or friends. But becoming a kinship carer is a lifechanging step for families and it can be difficult to get the right information and support for the child and the carers.
“One of the biggest challenges can be understanding how children’s services and the family court works and what your rights and options are as a prospective kinship carer. Yet what support the child and carers are entitled to largely depends upon getting the right information and legal advice from the outset. Family Rights Group’s specialist Advice Service is a really helpful resource for families to get free independent legal and practical advice on how to navigate these situations.
“Many carers told the Parliamentary Taskforce that where they had a local kinship carer support group, the practical and emotional support from people in similar situations was really beneficial too. We’re pleased the Government have responded to our call for more funding for support groups and we hope this new investment will ensure that more kinship carers can access a support group in their area.
“This is important progress and we’re pleased the Government are beginning to give kinship care the recognition and support it needs. The announcement has been made alongside the publication of the Government’s Adoption Strategy – we now need to see the same level of focus given to a Kinship Care Strategy.”