Local authorities must do more to support kinship carers in their areas, a charity has warned.
Publishing its annual survey of kinship carers, Grandparents Plus said that providing better support for kinship carers is especially urgent given the impact Covid-19 is having on kinship families.
“Grandparents Plus annual survey of kinship carers shows that kinship carers have been left struggling without the support and advice they need to keep their families together. 82% lack the professional support and information they need from local authorities and this is despite many of these families raising children who have suffered trauma and 30% diagnosed with additional needs,” said the report.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, this lack of formal support puts even more pressure on already vulnerable families,” it added.
The annual survey revealed that 87% of kinship carers feel proud of their role, 91% of kinship carers say the child they are raising in kinship care feels positive about the arrangement and 89% of kinship carers feel confident to tell people about their role.
However, 71% of kinship carers feel that people don’t understand what kinship care is and 67% also said they feel that people make judgements about their situation.
However, becoming a kinship carer also has a significant impact on people’s lives and 82% said that they miss aspects of their lives before they took on the care of the children.
At a time when more children are coming into care, kinship is a positive alternative to other forms of care with 97% of carers feeling that the child has settled well or very well into their family. But kinship carers, who want to do their part, must have the support they need when they need it, to ensure the longer-term benefits kinship care offers are fulfilled, Grandparents Plus warns.
“The findings from our survey highlights most kinship carers continue to feel they do not receive adequate support from their local authorities. Grandparents Plus is calling for all kinship carers to be adequately supported and make a number of recommendations,” the report said.
The report comes after the parliamentary taskforce on kinship care stated that kinship care should always be considered as first option for children needing care.
The taskforce also recommended that local authorities should provide clear and comprehensive information to kinship carers about the options available to them and any support that they may be eligible for, including access to benefits advice.
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
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