Who are Kinship Carers?
A kinship carer is anyone who cares full time and long term for a child who is not their biological child, but who they have a meaningful family connection with; for example a grandchild, nieces and nephews, but also godchildren or children of family friends. Usually a court order will be in place to state that that child should live permanently with the kinship carer. Sometimes kinship carers are referred to as Special Guardians, or “connected carers”.
These arrangements tend to be made when children cannot safely live with their parents because of drugs and alcohol issues, mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and sometimes, bereavement.
There are an estimated 200,000 official kinship carers in the UK, however the actual number is likely to be much higher if we take into consideration the ones who do not have a court order. A high proportion of kinship carers are working class women, and a disproportionate number are from BAME backgrounds.