This week is Kinship Care Week which means we have a chance to share stories and resources to help raise awareness about children in kinship care and their carers. I want to thank all the incredible carers that support these children and shed a light on the voices of children living in kinship care arrangements.
Kinship care is when a child lives with a relative or friend who isn’t their parent. There are different types of kinship care, including: living in an informal arrangement; being on a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order and being ‘looked after’ by the local authority and placed with kinship foster carers.
In the Family Review I heard from children, kinship carers and charities about the crucial role that carers play in children’s’ lives. To feed into the Review, I hosted a visit with children in kinship care from Kinship Carers Liverpool. I was delighted to meet the six young people that visited the office alongside their support workers.
Since the visit my team has been working with the group to publish a resource that I hope will be watched widely to help people understand a bit more about kinship care. I am committed to sharing resources that highlight the positive impact that kinship care can have, given there have been suggestions that children in kinship care arrangements experience better outcomes as adults than children living in other living arrangements. I have included this resource on each of our Back into School pages.
My office asked the group to tell us in their own words why they think it is important for schools, and indeed everyone, to know more about kinship care. One child noted the need for recognition of what children in kinship care have experienced:
“Being a kin kid does not mean I just live with my nan, it’s what I went through to end up there and that my behaviour may be part of how my circumstances have changed. More understanding is needed and support from schools for the whole kin family” – child in kinship care.
Another child in kinship care said:
“if we had understanding in school of our situations, it would make life a lot easier, and we would not keep having to tell our story” – child in kinship care.
In this video you can hear more from the young people in Liverpool and about why it’s important to raise awareness about kinship care. The video also explains what kinship care is and how many children are estimated to be living in kinship care.
Later in the week I will be publishing a blog post that considers some of challenges that children and their carers’ face and will draw on the reflections from kinship carers I heard from in the Family Review.
I want us to all be talking about kinship care this week and seeking to understand what kinship care means to children and their carers. There is no better way to learn about kinship care than to hear directly from the children who experience these family arrangements. Watch and share our resources this week to highlight the importance of kinship care.