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Kinship And / Or Family Carers ? Guidance / News / Articles : This Forum Supports Kinship Carers , CUK Does Not ! - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Kinship And / Or Family Carers ? Guidance / News / Articles : This Forum Supports Kinship Carers , CUK Does Not !

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Interesting ... for those readers following this thread , tomorrow's debate appears to be live on Parliament tv :


That's what it said on the tin , let's hope what's inside matches the label ?

Tomorrow's attendance ?

Bookies are offering even money on 10 ... or less !
Post match analysis ?

Certainly more " Interesting " than the last Carers Day broadcast ... if one likes 0-0 draws ?

Usual pats on the head allround ... couple of local constituent cases ... and very little goal mouth action.

Emphasis on what the Guardian article revealed ... see very first post on this thread.

Nothing more off putting than reading from a prepared script ... anyone could have done just that !!!

Not much from our position as family carers BUT ... so much crosses over into our territory.

Many FAMILY carers are also KINSHIP carers ... what out there classifies one carer as one or the other ?

If , and a big IF , measures are brought in for " Kinship " carers , what does that mean for " Family " carers if even a wafer thin line cannot distinguish between the two ?

Questions that remain unanswered ... time for our supporting organisations to take a butcher's ??????

As for Melanie Onn , a definite improvment on Barbara Keeley ... and that's not saying much ... might score a couple of goals ... in a Sunday morning match at your local park ... provided , of course , the LA have enough spare funds to cut the grass ???

Let's see what transpires ...
Full televised debate available online :

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Inde ... ed5d907522

Fast forward to , around , 11.05 am.
Some good news for those kinship carers in Derry / Londonderry , Northern Ireland :

https://www.derrynow.com/news/christmas ... hed/197935

Christmas comes early for kinship carers in Derry.

Kinship carers and the children they look after have benefited from over £1 million pounds in financial support over the last four years through engaging with the charity, Kinship Care NI.

Kinship care is an arrangement where a child who cannot be cared for by their own parents goes to live with a relative or family friend. It is estimated that around 10,000- 12,000 children are living in this type of arrangement in Northern Ireland.

The award winning charity was set up in 2010 to provide help and support to kinship carers and their children. The organisation has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund over the last 4 years.

Through their “Caring for Kin Project” based in Mid Ulster and “Kinship Care Support Service” in Derry, projects both funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Kinship Care NI has been successful in securing around £1 million to support kinship carers and young people. They received a grant of £635,720 for carers through the Caring for Kin Project and received £366,120 through the Kinship Care Support Service. Allowances such as Kinship Fostering allowances, Residence Order Allowances, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Guardian’s Allowances and other financial support has provided kinship carers with the vital support they need to support them in the care and upbringing of the children in their care.

“In the last four years, we have raised awareness of the support available to kinship carers and their children to ensure they are aware of their legal entitlement to financial support, said Jacqueline Williamson, Chief Executive of Kinship Care NI,

“Very often extended family members and friends step in and take on the care of children with no consideration for how they will be able to financially meet the needs of the children they are looking after. This leaves kinship carers and their children living in situations of severe poverty.

Jacqueline went on to say“the law is very clear when it comes to supporting kinship care arrangements. Kinship carers who have had children placed with them by social services are entitled to the same type and level of financial support as that paid routinely to foster carers. This includes a weekly allowance and additional support with small things, like school uniforms, birthdays and Christmas as well as help with the purchase of essential equipment to ensure the stability of the placement. Securing over £1 million in 4 years is a great achievement for our staff and has made a significant difference to the families who come through our organisation for support”.

Ann Melrose, aged 67, has cared for her great-niece since she was 5 weeks old and she is now 17. Ann said “I had no idea what financial support I was entitled to. I stepped in to look after my great-niece because I didn’t want to see her taken into care. I struggled a lot to make ends meet but at the time it didn’t really matter because I loved her and I got through the best I could. The staff at Kinship Care NI wrote letters on my behalf and now I receive Residence Order Allowances for my granddaughter. I can’t tell you what this has done for us as a family. I am even putting a little away for when she goes to University”.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support these projects, which are making a real difference to children and young people in kinship care and their families. I want to say thanks to the National Lottery players who are making this work possible.”[/b]

Kinship and / or family carers ?

Parent works , child looked after by a grandparent ... disabled or healthy ?

If disabled , a family carer ?

Still no clear distinction ... as if any reader would want to start classifying carers ?

The problem is one a little deeper ... LAs have , apparaently , more obligations to a kinship carer.

One which will continue to be " Unclear " ... high time for progress to be made.
Another article on kinship carers ... today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... e-children

Adoption and fostering are not the only options. It’s time to invest in kinship care.

It’s a struggle to get vulnerable children adopted. Their relatives should be offered funding and practical help if they can provide homes

The grandmother of Elsie Scully-Hicks, the 18-month-old girl murdered in Cardiff last year by one of her two adoptive fathers – who was convicted last month – had been rejected in her attempt to become her granddaughter’s court-appointed special guardian.

Despite having been in regular contact with her granddaughter while she was in foster care, and being deemed suitable to look after two of Elsie’s older siblings, Sian O’Brien said – in her victim impact statement read out in court – that she was told by the Vale of Glamorgan council that she wouldn’t be able to cope with Elsie too.

We don’t yet know – we may never know – why the judgment was made that Elsie should not be brought up by her grandma. But the details of this case raise wider questions about official and societal attitudes to the lives of children who do not live with their birth parents.

Over the past decade, adoption has been the politically trumpeted and heavily resourced “go-to” solution for vulnerable children. David Cameron described the low number of babies adopted as a “scandal” in his 2011 speech to the Conservative party conference, and later
pushed for the adoption process to be speeded up.

In reality, though, adoption has never been a likely prospect for any child over the age of about four or five or for sibling groups, who often end up scattered in long-term foster care. Since two high court judgments in 2013 restated the stringent conditions under which adoption orders could be made, adoption numbers have gone down. As a result, in October, the national Adoption Leadership Board acknowledged that it needed to broaden its remit to looking at different forms of “permanency” for children.

Kinship care, along with foster care, is the obvious answer: about 180,000 UK children are already living with a “kinship carer”. The first study of the effects of this, carried out by the charity Grandparents Plus, showed that children’s outcomes were significantly better – by a number of objective measures including GCSE results – than those in foster care.

The law is clear: if a support package – financial, practical, therapeutic – means a child who has been taken into care can be adequately looked after by relatives, then the “nothing else will do” test required for an adoption against a birth family’s wishes, has not been met and that support must be offered.

One might think that financial support would be automatic for a relative taking on the care of a young child who would otherwise cost the state a small fortune in fostering fees. Not so. Although the profile of children in kinship care might well be the same as those who end up being formally “looked after”, the support they get depends not on their need but on their legal status – are they living with relatives on a care order, and is the relative an approved foster carer? Only registered foster carers are entitled to an allowance, and not all kinship carers can meet the local authority criteria.

This doesn’t mean these relatives aren’t allowed to look after children who may have been neglected or abused. It just means they’re not entitled to any financial or other help. In turn, this means that though there may be a will, there may not be a way for family members to step in, and a child’s human right to live within the family they were born into can end up being severed.

One couple attending a kinship carers’ support group in the north-east of England told Grandparents Plus that they allowed their grandson to be adopted because they felt they couldn’t raise another child – they were already looking after his two siblings – without securing a council house with another bedroom. The local authority refused.

Even a special guardianship order in court is no guarantee of help – some local authorities offer an allowance, others don’t. And kinship carers often find they have to battle through a fog of misinformation: a grandmother in Gloucestershire fighting to care for her infant grandchild told a family court in October that children’s services wrongly informed her that having savings meant she’d get nothing to help her look after the baby. That’s why it should be a statutory requirement that money and practical help follow these children’s needs, whether or not they’re on a care order or their relatives tick enough boxes.

We don’t know what kind of help was on offer to Elsie’s grandmother – it’s to be hoped that children’s services were willing to dig deep if it could have meant the little girl – called Shayla before her adoptive parents renamed her – could grow up with her birth relatives. From the point of view of a cash-strapped council, it is undeniably the case that adoption is cheaper than long-term foster care or any other solution that involves continued state involvement. From the point of view of a child, though, kinship care may be preferable. It is wrong if the lack of state support for kinship carers is taking that option away or plunging these vulnerable children and their selfless relatives into poverty.

Same question.

Kinship and / or family carers ?

Take away any court order.

Still a clear distinction ?

How many " Family " carers would , by some definitions , be " Kinship " carers.

As recommended earlier on this thread , one for our supporting organisations to take on board.
A couple of letters from today's Guardian :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... ey-deserve

Family carers must get the financial support they deserve.

Louise Tickle importantly identifies the legal barriers to kinship carers receiving financial support (Family carers need our help, 8 December). The statistics are stark. In 2017 only 6,310 (3.5%) of the 180,000 children in kinship care were legally entitled to financial and professional support. It is also of note that in England only 9% of “looked after” children are placed with kinship carers compared to just under half in Spain, and there is also the injustice of opportunity arising from great variations between English local authorities.

Research shows that kinship carers provide a strong family and cultural identity, the child not seeing themselves as “in care”, and they stick with them through troubled times, even when lacking financial, practical and personal support. This evidence clearly suggests the urgent need for all kinship carers to receive legal recognition and resources as part of a continuum of preventative and care services for vulnerable children and their families.

Professor Mike Stein
University of York
• Finally, a call for financial support for kinship carers. We’ve campaigned for years to end the discrimination that pays strangers for foster care but not grandparents who often have to fight to stop children being adopted. But what about supporting mothers so children can stay with them? Women, 80% of whom are mothers, suffer 86% of austerity cuts, including benefit sanctions which drive thousands to food banks; 56% of single parents (overwhelmingly mothers) with jobs live in poverty; single-mother families are 47% of the statutory homeless and nearly three-quarters of families affected by the benefit cap.

Section 17 of the 1989 Children Act instructs local authorities to “promote the upbringing of children by their families” by “providing accommodation and giving assistance in kind or in cash”. The Care Act 2014 entitles disabled mothers to extra help. Why are these entitlements rarely implemented? The 40% cut in “early intervention” highlighted by the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is not the only reason. An ideology of blaming mothers even for the domestic violence they suffer, devaluing the child-mother relationship regardless of its impact on children, promoting forced adoptions and privatisation of children services, has resulted in nearly 90,000 children in care (England and Scotland). In some working-class areas, 50% of children are being referred to social services.

In 2016, ruling against a forced adoption, the European court of human rights said that article 8 (respect for private and family life) placed the state under a “positive obligation” to keep families together. It blamed “public and private services provided by ‘saviours’” for “child maltreatment and discrimination”. Mothers and kinship carers picket London’s family court every month demanding to be reunited with their children. They ask: when will they get the support they are legally entitled to?

Nina Lopez Support not Separation
Micheleine Kane Scottish Kinship Care Alliance
Kim Sparrow Single Mothers’ Self-Defence

Stark reality of kinship carers.

As mentioned previously , the jury is still out on the difference between kinship and family carers.
Back in the news.

Kinship and / or family carers ???


Grandparents 'run up debts' to care for grandchildren

Grandparents are running up large debts raising children whose parents cannot look after them, surveys have found.

Nearly 200,000 children in the UK are being raised by a family member other than their parents and findings show the burden often falls on grandparents.

Maureen Seed, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, looked after two of her grandchildren for 16 years because of her daughter's drug problems.

She amassed about £20,000 of credit card debt and is facing bankruptcy.

Two charities carried out surveys of people who look after grandchildren, or the children of other family members or friends. They suggest Ms Seed's case is not unusual.

One found more than a third of carers used a credit card to buy food, while a similar number missed paying a bill.

There is no statutory entitlement for kinship carers and charity Grandparents Plus wants a national minimum allowance introduced to cover the costs of raising a child.

Cheryl Ward, from the charity Family Fund, added: "There's a long-standing issue with support for grandparent carers - they're not recognised financially, as someone with special guardianship is."

The Department for Education said it recognised "the crucial role that grandparents play" but local authorities were responsible for advice and support.

'Nan saved my life'

Ms Seed, 74, took on caring for her grandson and granddaughter when they were aged five and two.

She had given up work to look after her husband, who suffered a heart attack and stroke and eventually went into a care home, and money was scarce.

She spent on credit cards so the children could go on school trips and holidays, and is currently going through bankruptcy to clear her £20,000 debt.

Eventually Ms Seed got family allowance and child tax credits, and fought for residency payment from the council, at £40 per child, per week.

Her grandson Louis, now 21, is at university and her granddaughter, 18, at college.

Louis said: "I feel like my nan saved my life. My life could have been very, very different.

"I remember some of the houses I was in with my mum - scruffy houses, around strangers all the time. We had to be got out of there really."

Ms Seed said: "I wanted them out of that, I didn't want them to live that life. I wanted them to have a stable, happy childhood, to have the things other children have."

'I didn't have any money'

Jayne Taylor, 60, from Leeds, was contacted by social services in May 2014 about looking after her granddaughters, now 14 and 17.

Both suffer from epilepsy and other behavioural issues.

Ms Taylor has resorted to food banks at least four times because she was desperate for help.

"I didn't have any money," she said.

"I had to make sure they had clothes, even uniform is so expensive. Even if you had savings you would go into it and that's hard when you've been working all your life."

Ms Taylor said she went to parenting classes but bringing up children now was "very different" compared with when she was a mother.

About kinship carers

Grandparents Plus surveyed 4,000 "kinship carers". Family Fund, which provides grants for families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children, surveyed primary carers it supported financially who described themselves as a grandparent and/or were 60 or over.

The Grandparents Plus survey, based on 671 responses, suggests the most common reason children are in kinship care is due to parental drug or alcohol abuse (55%).

The survey suggests:

45% of respondents quit work to become carers
43% say they do not have enough income for their grandchildren's needs
The average income for a kinship household is £17,316 - well below the national average (£27,200)
19% of carers rely on their pension as their main source of income

Of Family Fund's 231 responses, 36% of carers said they used credit cards to buy healthy food, and 39% said they missed a bill in order to buy healthy food.

What help can kinship carers get?

There is no statutory entitlement to financial support for kinship carers - local authorities decide what support is available in individual cases.

Registered foster carers are entitled to financial support but kinship carers have no equivalent entitlement.

Help is difficult to access if the carer is looking after the child as a private arrangement with no legal order.

Someone raising a grandchild or the child of another relative or friend may be able to claim benefits available for children, low-income families, older people, or those with a disability or long-term illness.

Kinship / family carers ... same problems ?

Lack of finance and little support.

Ring bells ?
Depends a lot whether the child/children have special needs. If they don't, then I guess if it's the grandparent raising the child, no reason why they shouldn't just get whatever a non-working single parent gets, since they are the parental proxy.

I was going to suggest being formally seen as a 'foster carer' (ie, paid to care) but I guess that would mean they haven't adopted the child and so it could be removed by the LA etc - it would make the situation very insecure.

It must be very sad to be a grandparent raising grandchildren of a daughter that turned to drugs - it would make the grandparents feel dreadful failures themselves. Arguably, alas, it could mean that the LA would think them 'unfit' to raise grandchildren since their own daughter turned out so badly????

That said, some folk make much better grandparents than parents! Both because they are more 'grown up' as they get older, and because the kind of stress that being a parent can often be lessens when it's 'only' a grandchild. My MIL made, so my husband always said, a MUCH better Granny than she did a Mum.....that's probably not that uncommon.

Of course, if the grandchildren have special needs, then that's a whole different ball game, and requires FAR more funding - shamefully mostly lacking in our callous society.
The main concern is .... kinship and / or family carers ?

I was adopted ... did that make me a kinship or a family carer ?

Foster carers are easier to define ... they " Foster " through choice , paid to do so , and have some legal protection.

Kinship carers ?

Some are foster carers , others care as other " Family " members do not through various circumstances.

Some have greater " Rights " under the Care Act ... where does one draw the line ?

Working parents dropping off their offspring to nurseries ... are those nurseries a new form of kinship carers ?

A traditional " Nanny " and / or child minder ... kinship carers by default ?

Child carers looking after a brother or sister ... or a grandparent ... family or kinship ?

A whole cesspit that needs sorting.
Kinship and / or family carers ... the problems are common to whichever they are :

https://www.theguardian.com/social-care ... rs-support

'Plunged into poverty': are kinship carers getting the support they need ?

Around 180,000 children who would otherwise be adopted or in care live with relatives or friends, but carers face a postcode lottery for assistance.

“I have wondered how this would have ended if I had been a less vocal, expressive or determined person,” a grandmother told a Gloucestershire family court last autumn, after applying to be appointed special guardian to her infant grandchild.

She was successful, but was keen to air her criticisms of the “extraordinary experience”. She alleges there was poor communication from children’s services, she was wrongly told she was ineligible for financial support, and unexplained delays meant her grandchild was in foster care for longer than necessary.

“It has left me feeling shattered by the lack of kindness and understanding I experienced in such a painful context,” she told the judge.

Responding to her statement, Gloucestershire’s interim improvement and operations director, Neelam Bhardwaja, said: “We know that taking responsibility for a young child is a huge decision and can be very stressful. We acted with integrity and kindness towards everyone involved in this case, as well as providing financial support including paying for some independent legal advice.

“We feel confident this child has the loving and committed family they need and we support the special guardianship arrangements.”

The grandmother in this case is not alone in struggling with a local authority’s attitude to kinship care. Around 180,000 children live with relatives or friends, and nine in 10 kinship carers say they do not feel supported in bringing up children who might otherwise be adopted or go into long-term foster care.

Kinship care is more stable than foster care and, by objective measures, has significantly better outcomes for children. So how do local authorities view it, and how much are they willing – or able – to resource this type of placement?

With large numbers in informal arrangements, the root problem for many kinship care families is being invisible to policymakers and local authorities. According to charity Grandparents Plus, support for kinship care is a postcode lottery. Chief executive Lucy Peake says many are “plunged into poverty” after volunteering to care for a child they had never expected to bring up.

The charity wants children in kinship care to be supported according to their needs rather than their legal status. But Charlotte Ramsden, director of children’s services for Salford, says that with budgets slashed and the child population increasing, local authorities’ capacity to respond “is massively less” than it should be.

Failures by councils to identify and properly assess and prepare kinship carers pose a genuine problem for children, says Mike Stein of York University, who researches the corporate parenting of young people.

“It gets my blood boiling. It’s so unjust that your life chances should be affected by inadequacies in this area,” he says.

Ramsden says that kinship carers are valued by local authorities, but paying them the same as foster carers is simply not achievable. “In an ideal world, if resources weren’t an issue, we might be saying something very different,” she says.

Sandra started looking after her nine-month-old grandson seven years ago after social workers took emergency measures to remove him from her son. She was given five minutes to decide whether he would go home with her or into foster care. She received five months of nursery fees from her local authority so she could keep hold of her job. Since then, Sandra has not had any financial support – despite it being the local authority’s decision to take action.

“I feel hard done by by the local authority,” she says. “I think a lot of kinship carers do because the council just thinks: ‘We don’t have to pay for a foster carer.’ Some get £400 a week per child, so we’re saving them that.”

While the lack of money may pull councils in one direction, a trend for children to stay with their birth families pulls in the other.

Special guardianship numbers are soaring and the way relatives and friends are viewed in terms of their capacity to care for a child at risk has changed considerably, says Joan Hunt, an expert in family law.

Ten years ago, a grandparent whose own child was an unsafe parent might have been regarded with suspicion by a local authority. Now, case law firmly encourages the assessment of relatives and means that families are much more likely to be carefully considered. Ramsden says children’s services try to be flexible if a family member offers to look after a child.

What financial, practical and emotional support is available for the increasing number of kinship families?

Statutory guidance from 2011 says children in kinship care and their carers should receive the support they need regardless of their legal status.

“If local authorities implemented that it would make a huge difference, but they are terrified of opening the floodgates, and that if they make services and money available, they will have thousands of carers knocking at their door,” says Hunt.

Given that the guidance on support is often not followed, Hunt believes that only primary legislation is likely to lead to genuine improvements.

But despite budgetary constraints, some new thinking is being introduced. In an initiative pioneered and delivered by Tact, which delivers Peterborough council’s fostering and adoption services, the same practical and emotional support and training will be available to all kinship carers where the council has been involved in creating the child’s placement.

Part of the problem local authorities face in developing sustained support for kinship carers is systemic, says Andy Elvin, chief executive of Tact.

“Because funding is always year-on-year, it’s hard for managers to make decisions on the next 10 years,” he says. “If you could look at a child growing up for the next 12 years and you want a good outcome and value for money over that time, then you might make different decisions than if you’re looking at next March.

“But there’s no reward [to councils] for being prudent. You just get less money next year.”

Hunt is clear that using kinship carers more and better supporting them would save taxpayers money in the long term – not least because it would lead to improved outcomes for more children.

With the right resourcing from central government to allow councils to offer sustained help over a child’s lifetime, “you’d have more people coming forward as kinship carers, and if they had more support, more would last”, says Elvin.

“Long-term stability is good for children, so you end up with [fewer] children who would go on to need adult services, or intensive support services through adolescence,” he says.

One thread wich will continue to run ... and run.