Backing for kinship care placements

Social services are being urged to consider
placing looked-after children with grandparents and other relatives
as an alternative to fostering or residential care, following a
report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Researchers from the children and families
research unit at De Montfort University, Leicester, examined 50
kinship care placements, interviewing social workers, young people
and carers.

The research shows that “kinship care” is
popular both with young people and the relatives and family friends
who provide it, and can be more stable and longer lasting than the
alternatives. Nearly three out of four carers were over the age of
50 and almost half were grandparents. The carers wanted more
financial and social work support.

Many of the young people said they felt safe
and secure with their extended family. Other advantages included
maintaining links with siblings and friends, keeping hold of their
racial and cultural heritage, and not being looked after by

Disadvantages included financial hardship and
lack of access to the help that is available to care leavers.
“Kinship care scarcely features in social work training, and in
policy terms it is almost invisible,” said Bob Broad, co-author of
the study. “In our view, there is a strong case for kinship carers
being offered the same level of financial and social work support
as foster carers.”

Kith and Kin: Kinship Care for
Vulnerable Young People
from 020 7843 6000

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