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Families who care for relatives' children falling into cost of living crisis

The charity, Kinship, warn people who take in relatives' children to keep them out of the care system, fear having to give them up as living costs soar. In England and Wales, most kinship carers get less financial support than foster carers and some have warned they are now struggling, says the charity.

The second survey of kinship families’ financial circumstances in England and Wales shows that the situation for kinship families is getting worse. As the cost of living continues to soar, the charity is urging urgent action to prevent many more families from being plunged into poverty. The survey found that:

  • 44% of kinship carers could not pay all their household bills.
  • 26% could not afford food for their families.
  • 35% could not afford clothes for their children.
  • 18% could not keep up with rent or mortgage payments.
  • 33% of carers were concerned that their financial situations might eventually prevent them from being able to continue to care for their children.

Dr Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Kinship said “It’s deeply shocking that kinship carers are doing their very best to keep children with the people who love them but can’t afford to buy them daily essentials like food and clothes as they are left to manage with no financial support.

Pushed into poverty, the financial strain means many kinship families are worried they may have to give up the care of the children. This would be a massive tragedy that is entirely preventable.

We know it’s best for children to stay within their own families where they are loved, safe and secure rather than go into the care system but raising a child costs money. It’s only right that kinship carers receive the same non-means tested financial support as foster carers.

The Government must act with urgency and implement the recommendations made by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and provide kinship carers and their children with the financial support they clearly so desperately need.”

Kinship wants family members who care for relatives' children to receive a universal, standard, non-means-tested allowance in line with the minimum amounts paid to foster carers in England and Wales, which vary from £137 to £240 a week, according to location and the children's age.

Read the full report here.