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Stepping up support for Kinship Carers

July 6, 2022 10:14 AM
By Munira Wilson
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Each year, thousands of grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and family friends step up to support a child who is unable to live with their birth parents. They deserve more support.

Yesterday, I introduced the Kinship Care Bill in the House of Commons. This bill calls on the Government to provide all friends and relatives who look after a child who cannot live with their birth parents with an allowance of at least £137 a week: the same level as for foster carers.

Each year, thousands step up to support a child who is unable to live with their birth parents. They turn their lives upside down to provide a child with a loving, stable home, when the alternative is often local authority care.

Government policy treats kinship carers as a Cinderella service"

This often comes at a huge personal and financial sacrifice. Many give up their careers or pension savings. They are left to face the challenge of looking after a child who may well have suffered abuse or neglect.

As the cost-of-living crisis bites, kinship carers should not have to choose between paying the bills and looking after a loved one.

The cost of living is hitting kinship carers hard. A survey by charity Kinship revealed:

Every child that goes into kinship care instead of local authority care could save the taxpayer more than £35,000 a year. Yet Government policy treats kinship carers as a Cinderella service, denying most of them the support received by foster carers or adoptive parents.

My Kinship Care Bill would:

Liberal Democrats will stand up for carers, so we can provide their children with a better start in life, no matter their background.