Thank you for contacting me about kinship carers.
As you rightly point out, family and friends play a vital role in caring for children who are unable to live with their parents. Quite understandably, most children benefit from living with someone they already know and trust, rather than a stranger.
In December 2023, the Government launched the first ever national kinship care strategy, ‘Championing Kinship Care’. Backed by £20 million to deliver the strategy, the Government has confirmed it will provide an allowance to many kinship carers to match that received by foster carers - currently between £154 and £270 per week, per child. This is being trialled in up to 8 areas of the country and will help ensure that people do not have to choose between becoming a carer and being able to afford to support their families.
The Government will also expand the role of virtual school heads – education champions within local authorities – to cover kinship care. They will ensure that the education of children in kinship care is prioritised so they go on to have bright futures.
Foster care has also been bolstered with an additional £8.5 million. This takes the total Government investment across this Parliament to £36 million, which is the largest ever investment in fostering in England. The funding will ensure there are more foster carers available to step up and look after children by extending recruitment campaigns, simplifying recruitment processes, and providing better support for existing foster carers to even more local authorities.
The new kinship strategy and extra foster care funding are part of a suite of initiatives which meet commitments set out in the children’s social care strategy, ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’, published in February 2023. The children’s social care strategy outlined measures to transform children’s social care, properly supporting families, integrating the child protection system, improving foster carer recruitment, and hiring more social workers. As part of this, there will be a focus on keeping children in the care of family and loved ones through improved support and reducing barriers to kinship care. This includes investing £9 million in kinship care training and support.
I hope this reassures you that the importance and value of kinship carers in the care system is recognised. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for working tirelessly for those you care for.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Angela Richardson MP
Member of Parliament for Guildford, Cranleigh and our villages