Kinship carers ‘not well supported’ at the beginning of placements, research suggests

Interviews found most young people were positive about their experiences with social workers

Photo: mashiki/Fotolia

Kinship carers do not feel well supported by social services when a child moves in with them, a research study suggests.

The study, published today by Grandparents Plus, interviewed more than 90 young people and carers who had been lived in kinship care arrangements for at least two years. In total 53 young people were interviewed by researchers, and 43 carers.

It found while children’s services were involved with most of families at the time of the move, 60% said “they had not been well supported”.

“Those who had not found children’s services helpful spoke of long delays before help was forthcoming and being pressured to take out a private law order,” the research said.

It added: “Most of the carers did not think that the interventions provided had been helpful. Several carers had felt very frustrated by the lack of therapeutic intervention available to support young people whose lives they saw as being blighted by their difficult early life experiences and some had tried time and again to get the assessment or support they thought the young people needed.”

Carers reported better support when the children were transferring to their care from a local authority care arrangement compared to cases where the children didn’t have looked-after status. Most young people interviewed were positive about their experiences of social work services despite frequent changes of social worker being “difficult”.

No statutory right

Children in kinship care currently have no statutory right to support.

Lucy Peake, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said the study showed the effect a lack of support for kinship carers has on young people.

“We’d like to see a step change in the way that kinship care is understood and supported, so that it stops being the invisible option alongside adoption and fostering, and has its own national strategy supported by investment at all levels.”

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