Responding to a CYP Now interview with the government’s adoption adviser Martin Narey, the charity argued that plans to speed up the adoption process could inadvertently reduce the number of relatives able to look after children who would otherwise go into care.
Narey told CYP Now that adoption should be the third option for children, behind first trying to reunite families and then approaching kinship carers. He also said there was an “urgent need” to make kinship care more affordable.
Agnes Gautier, policy officer at Grandparents Plus, argued that it is common sense in most cases to try and keep children with a relative, such as a grandparent or an aunt.
“Speeding up adoption will increase the risk of overlooking the extended family as the natural first port of call,” she said. “The government need to invest in supporting those family members stepping up to look after a child to make sure the placement is successful.
“Grandparents Plus welcomes Martin Narey’s recognition that there is an urgent need to make kinship care more affordable. There are currently 300,000 kinship carers in the UK, who have little recognition for the role they play in keeping children out of care.”
Sarah Welland, policy and research manager at Grandparents Plus, said she hoped that Narey would promote kinship care as an option to the Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that it was “high time” the government gave kinship carers the same profile as adoptive parents.
She warned that kinship carers are subject to a postcode lottery of support, adding that around half of councils don’t have a policy on family and friends care, almost a year after the legal deadline to publish one.