Why are Kinship Carers Important?
By stepping in to look after children of their family or friends, kinship carers offer children an opportunity to be raised within their birth family network. Children who grow up in kinship placements tend to have better outcomes than children in the care system. These placements tend to last longer and provide the child with more stability. Kinship placements offer the benefit of ongoing relationship with birth parents, siblings and other important people which helps them to maintain important lifelong links with their family, an important aspect in helping the child with their identity and self-esteem. They are supported by committed adults who will be in their lives forever and suffer less stigma around “growing up in care”.
The use of SGOs has risen by 193% since 2010. Kinship Care is now the biggest route out of care for children in England, overtaking Adoption. While these placements have amazing benefits for the children, they are not without difficulty. Kinship carers face a number of challenges once they take on their caring role, as do the children they look after. They are expected to parent often very traumatized children with little or no preparation or support and no access to the services that are normally available to foster carers and people who adopt. Sadly, the national trend is for kinship carers to receive a very poor service from local authorities once an order is made. Many feel completely abandoned by services; in some cases this can result in situations breaking down and children coming back into the care system. Kinship Hub is seeking to redress this imbalance in services provided to kinship carers in London and beyond.