Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has responded to a report published today by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, makes proposals to ‘unlock the power of family networks’ and support more children to live safely with kinship carers, when they can’t remain at home.
There are over 150,000 children in England who live with kinship carers. Many more than are living with unrelated foster carers or who are adopted.
Recommendations made by the Review include:
- A single legal definition of kinship care to improve recognition and access to support
- A legal right to family group decision making to ensure family care options are explored when there are concerns about a child’s welfare
- Extending legal aid to all kinship carers
- A new entitlement to kinship employment leave when a child comes to live with the carer, akin to adoption leave
- Universal ongoing support for kinship carers, including peer support and training
- A financial allowance for special guardians and kinship carers with child arrangements orders
The proposals reflect many of the experiences kinship carers and the children they are raising, have shared with the APPG and its predecessor the Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care. The APPG also recently published a report this month ‘Lost in the Legal Labyrinth’ detailing how legal aid and advice could be expanded to support kinship care.
Responding to the Review’s kinship care proposals, Chair of the APPG and a kinship carer to his grandson, Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Too many children are deprived of the chance of living safely in a loving home with family and friends when they can’t remain at home. Even when kinship care is explored, the advice and support available to help the carer and to ensure the children’s needs are met can be limited or non-existent.
“The Review have proposed a step change, to ensure that more children, who would otherwise be raised by strangers in the care system, can live safely and be properly supported with grandparents, aunts, uncles and others who love them.
“The kinship care proposals, including a legal definition of kinship care, family group decision making, legal aid, kinship employment leave and financial and peer support – reflect the experiences of thousands of kinship carers and the concerns many in the sector have been raising for some time.
“The onus is now on the government to, as the Review suggests, unlock the power of family networks and bring about the change children and carers need. Our APPG is ready to work with them to achieve that.”
To read the review in full, click here.