Every child in care, or involved with children’s services, deserves safety, love and security. I feel a huge sense of responsibility for the safety and happiness of children who are living away from home or receiving social care services.
As set out in the Children Act 2004, as Children’s Commissioner for England, I have a particular responsibility to promote and protect the rights of children who are in care.
That’s why I am delighted to see the publication of the first national kinship strategy, ‘Championing Kinship Care’. Every child needs a loving, caring home, and if that can’t be with their own parents it is vital that there are genuine, caring alternatives.
Kinship care can often be exactly that. In my Family Review, I heard that many families turn to their own network when things get tough. Families told me that they often choose first to access help and support from their parents, grandparents, and friends. That’s why I am pleased to see kinship carers finally getting the recognition they deserve.
For children who have a family member or relative who could step in and care for them I don’t ever want financial circumstance to deter a kinship carer from being able to care for a child.
The introduction of the financial allowance of kinship carers is welcome and while there are many kinship families that will not receive support through the pathfinder programme, I look forward to seeing the impact of the programme on the families it does support and understanding what a national financial allowance could look like.
As we know school plays a central role in children’s lives and can provide stability and consistency for children that have experienced turbulence in their lives. As I highlighted in my report ‘Looked after children not in school’ Virtual School Heads play an essential role in support children in care to thrive in school. I am therefore thrilled to see the role of the Virtual School Heads extended to children in kinship care.
It is incredibly welcome to see Government take welcome steps towards implementing important commitments made in the ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’ strategy. I will continue to champion kinship carers, ensuring they get the support and continued recognition that they need.