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Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap And Guidance

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:57 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Mentioned yesterday , full article in this morning's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -child-cap

'Kinship carers' denied thousands of pounds over two-child cap.

Campaigners call for change to rules as people are denied tax credits for their own children after caring for young relatives.

Full article follows as this is a classic ... but not for kinship carers :

Carers who voluntarily look after younger relatives to stop them being taken into care are being denied thousands of pounds in welfare entitlements as a result of the two-child benefit cap, despite government promises to exempt them.

Campaigners have called on ministers to change rules whereby kinship carers who act as guardians for at least two children are refused child tax credits and maternity grants when they decide to have a child of their own.


Ministers promised kinship carers a year ago they would not be subject to the two-child policy after a defeat over the issue in the House of Lords. However, it has emerged that the exemption only applies to carers who have birth children first and then become guardian to a third child – not the other way around.

Although in such cases the third child is the carer’s first birth child, officials have blocked child tax credit payments worth £2,780 a year because the claimant is considered to have breached the two-child limit that came into force in April.

Melanie Onn, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, said it was unjust that kinship carers who had made great personal sacrifices to care for relatives – and saved the state hundreds of thousands of pounds in fostering costs – were refused financial support.

“It’s unfair for people who have given up large parts of their life to take care of their close family. They do that with commitment and love, and without regret. To see them having children of their own and then having state support denied seems so incredibly unfair.”

Onn has raised the case of a constituent, Alyssa Vessey, 22, of Grimsby, who was 18 when she gave up college to formally care for her three younger siblings following the sudden death of their mother four years ago.

Vessey was told that her application for child tax credits and a £500 Sure Start maternity grant before the birth of her baby this summer was refused because she had fallen foul of the two-child rule. She appealed twice but was turned down both times. Her son is now three months old.

She told the Guardian: “It’s unfair. They are saying if you take on children we won’t give you any money if you have a family of your own. People who save the government thousands by caring for children should get money and support when they have a family of their own.”

The Department for Work and Pensions stood by the decision to deny child tax credits to carers like Vessey, saying it ensured fairness between claimants and taxpayers who support themselves solely through work.

A spokesman said: “We know some parents and carers are not in the position where their decision rests solely on whether they can afford a third child, and that’s why we have many exemptions in place. We continue to pay child benefit for all children in a household.”

The two-child limit was introduced by the former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, two years ago on the grounds that it would force parents to “take responsibility” for their choices and teach them that “children cost money”.

Since April, as a result of the policy, families that have a third or subsequent child will no longer be able to claim child tax credits for this child or any future children. Tax credits are intended to help with the costs of bringing up a child.

The government expects to save more than £1bn annually by 2021 through the two-child cap, although charities estimate it will trigger a 10% rise in child poverty over the same period as affected families stand to lose nearly £2,800 a year.

Ministers, who had previously lauded kinship carers as “unsung heroes”, eventually agreed to exempt them from the two-child cap last year after a defeat in the Lords during the passage of the welfare reform and work bill. Opposition peers had argued that failure to exempt would deter potential carers from coming forward.

It has emerged that the government was warned about the anomaly affecting carers in Vessey’s situation by the Kinship Care Alliance last November in a formal consultation response, but this appears to have been ignored by officials.

Cathy Ashley, chief executive of the Family Rights Group charity, said: “It is particularly pernicious that this anomaly impacts on those who have gone the extra mile in caring for their younger siblings, often from a very young age.

“We did bring this to the attention of the government before the policy was introduced. However, we trust that its implementation is oversight and is urgently corrected by ministers.”

Children move into kinship care for a variety of reasons, including parental death, neglect or abuse, parental illness, addiction, and imprisonment. An estimated 200,000 children in the UK are raised by kinship carers, saving the taxpayer billions of pounds.
Alyssa Vessey: teenage carer

When her mother died suddenly four years ago, Alyssa Vessey was a Grimsby teenager training to become a hairdresser. Just days later she was asked whether she would be prepared to look after her three younger siblings – become, in effect, their replacement mother.

She agreed willingly: “We went to social services and my family said to me ‘we’d understand if you didn’t want to take them on’. But my brother and sisters would have gone into care if I didn’t step up and bring them up; they’d be in the care system.”

Becoming a kinship carer aged 18 was, she says, the hardest thing she’d ever done. “I had to do everything, waking them up in the morning and making sure they got breakfast, making sure they got to school, doing the tea when they got back, and making sure they did their homework.

“I was there for every parents’ evening, every GCSE meeting. I did everything to make sure the children do well in life.”

Vessey says she had to give up her social life, and she lost friends as a result. Money was always tight as she adjusted to her new role. She got a job at Primark to help make ends meet and put a bit put aside to take her siblings to Lincoln on a rare holiday.

She is proud that this year the eldest of her three siblings, Keeley, went to university, the first in their family to do so. “I was determined that they had to make my mum proud, get the best grades they can. My mum always said she wanted the best for us all, to take every opportunity.”

This summer Vessey and her partner, Adam, celebrated the birth of their own child, Joey. They have had to cut back hard after being informed that Joey did not qualify for tax credits or a Sure Start maternity grant because they had breached the two-child limit.

She said: “I think [the two-child rule] will put some potential carers off because not a lot of people out there know that when they take on children with guardianship they are not going to get any money for their own children. It’s going to be a lot tighter for them, but nobody knows about that.”



The first two paragraphs lay bare the root problem ... before or after ... makes all the difference.

The abhorrent 21 Hour Rule takes a back seat when compared with this one.

Yet another to keep a close eye on.

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap For the Unexpecting !

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:15 am
by Melly1
This is very unfair. Shocking.

Melly1

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap For the Unexpecting !

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:21 am
by Chris From The Gulag
For any kinship carers reading this post , they might ask the question of our supporting organisations ... what is being done given that this Issue has not just surfaced ?

A search of both Carers UK and Carers Trust reveals ... not a mention or even a reference byline.

What message does that send out to kinship carers looking for support ?

Foster or family carers ?

Immaterial !!!!!!!!!!!

Kinship carers are carers , why try and label them as anything other ?

Yet another question to be raised whenever the opportunity presents itself ?

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap For the Unexpecting !

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:37 am
by Chris From The Gulag
For anyone interested , there are separate web site for kinship carers.

A google search ... KINSHIP CARERS ... will reveal several other sites.

This one appears to be at grass roots level not apart of any organisation :

http://www.kinshipcarers.co.uk/
Kinship Foster Carers Group was formed around 2008 and has grown steadily since then. The team currently consists of Vicki O'Leary, Sandy Chamberlain, Janellen Reddington, Paul & Patsy Riley, Ruth Kilcullen. Sandy and Vicki run the Facebook support groups whilst the rest of the team help with raising awareness ideas, maintaining the website and being a never ending source of information and support to our members; as well as to each other. To be updated - current as at March 2016.

Separate section dealing with legal matters answered on a bullet point basis :

http://kinshipcarers.co.uk/Legal-Options.php

Links section also useful for those seeking further guidance :

http://kinshipcarers.co.uk/Useful-Links.php

Best start at the first link , and have a good look around.

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap For the Unexpecting !

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:07 am
by Melly1
I used to foster and was a member of The Fostering Network. The Fostering Network supported Kinship Carers too.

Melly1

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap For the Unexpecting !

Posted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:15 am
by Chris From The Gulag
An article of interest from the Independent just a shade under 2 years ago :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 91581.html

Kinship carers: Soaring number of children brought up by relatives other than parents.

Of 150,000 children brought up by grandparents, siblings or other relatives, three-quarters are in deprived households.


Poverty is prevalent among children in kinship families, the research revealed, with 76 per cent living in a deprived household. Compared with children growing up with at least one parent, those raised by kinship carers were also found to be nearly twice as likely to have long-term health problems or disabilities.

Dinithi Wijedasa, the study’s lead author from the University of Bristol’s Hadley Centre for Foster and Adoption Studies, said: “As well as showing a significant increase in the number of kinship care households, the findings highlight that children growing up in the care of relatives face significant poverty and deprivation compared with children growing up with at least one parent.

“Children in kinship care are also more likely to have a disability or higher levels of long-term health problems. Given that a large majority of these children and their families will be not known to the local authorities, it is imperative that measures are taken to enable them to receive adequate support.”

Black children are more likely than any other group to be looked after by a relative other than their parents, the research found. One in every 37 black children is brought up by kinship carers, compared with just one in 83 white children.

Although often stepping in during a moment of family crisis, similar to adoptive parents, kinship carers receive less support than them, despite often being worse off financially. Research from Family Rights Group, also published today, found that almost half of kinship carers have had to give up work permanently to care for a kin child and a further 18 per cent had to stop working temporarily. Almost two-thirds receive child tax credit and 34 per cent receive housing benefit.


Where does one really draw the line between foster and family carers ... by blood ?

Also opens up the whole child carer issue again ... one which will never fade away.

Disturbing to say the very least ???

Image

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap And Guidance

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:34 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
As an aside , and not knowing much about " Kinship " carers , a Google search was very revealing.

For anyone interest , try a Google search ... KINSHIP CARERS CASE LAW ... several of the first few listed throw up some very interesting information.

One worth a brief note .... from the Community Care web site , 2010 :

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2010/05/ ... cils-dear/

Kinship care ruling could cost councils dear.

A ground-breaking case on kinship carer payments could leave local authorities with a huge bill, social care lawyer and Community Care contributor Ed Mitchell has warned.


The High Court ruled that a 64-year-old grandmother who looks after her 15-year-old granddaughter should receive the same payments from Kent Council as foster parents would be entitled to.

The ruling increases the grandmother’s weekly payment to £164 from £63.

Social care lawyer Ed Mitchell said: “This case could have big financial implications. Local authorities have just let family carers get on with it and now the court has come down on them and said this is foster care and should be funded accordingly.”

If the Kent case sets a precedent, Mitchell said, it could also affect risk assessments.

“It will mean the obligations that are attached to a child who is fostered will kick in for these children who are looked after by family members,” he said.

Fostering organisations are pleased with the decision.


Mmmmm ... food for thought ... a foster OR a family carer for starters ?

Reverse the roles ... make the granddaughter 18 ... same considerations and outcome ???

Seems in Law , one must be one or the other , and not both ?

Earlier post .... KINSHIP ... foster or family carer ?

2010 ..... 7 years ago ....

A Kinship carer is a person who is looking after a child of a relative or friend on a full time basis; this can also be a temporary or permanent arrangement and can also be on a formal or informal basis.

The placement of a child with an unrelated person by their parent(s) is known as Private Foster Carer.


Now that should make it clearer .... doesn't it ??????

.... and most of us know the pay and automatic " Rights " enjoyed by foster carers , don't we ?

Kinship carers ... foster carers ... how many readers would now call themselves " Kinship " as opposed to " Family " carers given the brief description extracted from Wikipedia ?

.... and if " Kinship " shares the same rules as " Foster " under English Law ?

See where this one might be heading .... ???

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap And Guidance

Posted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:06 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
A little more on the legal definition of a " Kinship " carer.

From the Child Law Advice site :
What is Kinship or Family and Friends care?

Family and Friends Care or Kinship Care is an arrangement whereby a child who cannot be cared for by their parent(s) or other person with Parental Responsibility, goes to live with a relative, friend or other connected person. The person with whom a child is placed could be recognised as a Family and Friends Foster Carer.

The arrangement can be a private arrangement directly between the parent(s) and the relative, friend or connected person or it can arise through Children’s Services involvement. Children’s Services may have determined that the child was at risk of harm living with the parent(s) and therefore placed the child in the care of a relative, friend or connected person. This is an important distinction because it will often determine the extent to which the Local Authority owes a duty to assess and provide support to a carer.


Still non the wiser ???
Who can become a Kinship or Family and Friends carer?

You will need be recognised as a ‘connected person’ in order for the Local Authority to assess and approve you as a Family and Friends Foster Carer.

A connected person is defined as a ‘relative, friend or other person connected with a child’. The latter is likely to include person(s) who have a pre-existing relationship with the child, for example, a teacher who knows the child in a professional capacity.

A relative, for the purposes of family and friends foster care, is defined in the Children Act 1989 as:

A ‘grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent’.


Now , that should be crystal clear ... isn't it ???

As soon as the INK function is restored , I will colour code the above to make easier reading ... if not the understanding ???

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap And Guidance

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:41 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Thanks to Wendy at Chill4Us .... Melanie Onn , Labour mp for Great Grimsby , will be speaking in the House shortly on Kinship carers.

Melanie Onn MP for Great Grimsby will be holding a Westminster Hall debate on social security support for kinship carers next week. She wants to know if you have had any experience of accessing benefits, particularly if you also have a child of your own.



I have send her an email direct :
Hi Melanie .... Kinship carers ?

New thread on " Kinship Carers " appearing on the
Carers UK forum ... raises several " Interesting "
questions that could assist you in the House.

Direct link :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and ... ance-31009

URL address :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and ... ance-31009

Many " Family " carers appear to be " Kinship " carers purely by definition.



May assist her in the " Debate " ... who knows ???

Re: Kinship Carers ? The Two Child Trap And Guidance

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:27 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Debate ?

Westminster Hall,

Wednesday , 18 October

11.00 - 11.30 am.

Hurricane Ophelia permitting ?

I'll publish post match report from Hansard ... assuming they will cover it.