Family and friends care agenda for action

Between 200-300,000 children in the United Kingdom who cannot live with their parents are being brought up by grandparents, older siblings or other wider family members or friends. The reasons vary but include parental mental or physical ill health, domestic abuse, alcohol or substance misuse, imprisonment or bereavement and child abuse.

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, with research demonstrating that the children getting least support in family and friends care being those with the highest level of emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Despite this, most children in family and friends care are thriving, and doing significantly 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 that work together to develop a joint policy agenda and to campaign to improve the situation of children who cannot live with their parents.

We are asking for your support with our campaign to end the postcode lottery for these children and introduce an effective support system to enable family and friends carers to raise these very vulnerable children.

Please make your views known to your local parliamentary candidates via emailing them using this site and by signing our Agenda for Action.

You can read more here.