Relative Benefits: Placing children in kinship care ***
Bob Broad and Alison Skinner, BAAF
ISBN1 903699 79 7, £14.95
STAR RATING: 3/5
Kinship care is a growing option for the placement of children who cannot live with their birth parents, writes Anne Burnage.
We are told that 12 per cent of looked-after children in March 2002 were living in a family and friends foster placement and, of course, many more are cared for outside the looked-after system.
There is no national government guidance in this area. The authors have attempted to fill the vacuum by providing examples of good practice and suggestions for improved services to kinship carers and those for whom they care.
There are many useful suggestions that might improve the lot of kinship carers but most of these would require local authorities to make a financial outlay. For example, the authors recommend the payment of grants to carers to increase the space in their homes.
Although kinship care can be the best option for many children it is also the cheapest and, from the point of view of some councils, therefore very attractive.
I hope this book will alert local authorities to the need for proper assessment and support for kinship carers but I suspect that only statutory requirements will ensure these are made available.
Anne Burnage is deputy director of the Catholic Children’s Society