Kinship care: Councils urged to offer more financial support

Fiona Simpson
Thursday, June 3, 2021

More than a third of kinship carers receive no financial support from their local authority, research by a charity has found.

Most kinship carers say they have worried about their finances this year. Picture: Mladen/Adobe Stock
Most kinship carers say they have worried about their finances this year. Picture: Mladen/Adobe Stock

According to a survey of 2,000 kinship carers by charity Kinship, previously known as Grandparents Plus, 36 per cent of respondents said they received no financial support from their local council.

This figure increased to 75 per cent among those caring for children informally without a legal order such as a child arrangement order, residence order or a special guardianship order, the research shows.

Among those who do get financial support, the average weekly allowance for informal carers is just £18.46, compared with the lowest rate of allowance for foster carers which is £132. 

For carers of children with a formal special guardianship order the weekly average is just £91.31, according to Kinship.

The charity also found that 76 per cent of kinship carers do not feel they have enough financial support to meet the needs of the children they are caring for, rising to 92 per cent of those caring informally. 

Some 82 per cent of kinship carers said they had worried about their financial situation over the past year.

As of the last census in 2011 there were believed to be 180,040 children living with relatives in the UK and it is estimated that at least 20,000 more are living with family friends, according to Kinship.

The charity is calling for kinship carers to be paid the national minimum allowance for foster carers.

Lucy Peake, chief executive of Kinship, said: “Family and friends who step up to raise someone else’s child face life-changing consequences. Too many are plunged into poverty because financial support is inadequate and unfair.

“Kinship carers are doing the right thing – keeping children out of the care system. Their vital role should be recognised, with financial allowances that are fair, consistent and transparent. This means levelling up to the national minimum allowance for foster carers.”

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