Kinship Care Week: shining a light on family carers

From April 24th to April 30th, Mentor is leading Kinship Care Week for England to celebrate the dedication of kinship carers, raise awareness and funds for kinship care projects, and promote best practice among the professional community that supports these families.

12 April 2017 | Kinship care

Kinship Care Week will take place from 24th – 30th April 2017

There are between 200,000 and 300,000 children being looked after by grandparents, siblings, other relatives or family friends. Kinship care – sometimes known as family and friends care –  is the most common form of non-parental care for children who are unable to live with their parents in England.

Children go into kinship care due to a range of difficult circumstances, including bereavement, family breakdown, abuse or neglect. Reliable estimates suggest that two thirds (67%) of these children are being looked after because their parents have struggled with drug and alcohol misuse.

Kinship Care Week is an opportunity to recognise and support the selfless work of kinship carers, raise awareness of kinship care in the community, and promote best practice among kinship care professionals.

What’s going on: Kinship Care Week events

Why Mentor supports kinship carers

We know that parents’ substance misuse can have a massive impact on children. That’s why, as part of our work to prevent harms from drugs and alcohol, Mentor provides personalised support, information and advice, as well as peer group opportunities for kinship carers and young people they care for. These services improve family relationships, build confidence and help kinship families be more positively integrated within their local community.

 Kinship carers can face several challenges, including financial hardship, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and feelings of stress, isolation and stigma. Despite the importance of their role, only 1 in 3 carers who say they need help report getting the support they need.

The children they’re raising are often also struggling themselves. Many have special needs, or behavioural difficulties as a result of their circumstances. Others are trying to overcome great loss or trauma, and feel out of place among their peers.

Kinship carers make huge personal sacrifices to care for children who have often experienced terrible loss or trauma. It is essential that we make sure these families get the advice and support they need as early as possible.

Michael O'Toole

Kinship Care Appeal on BBC Radio 4

Kinship Care Week will feature online webinars, Twitter chats, guest blogs and videos, training workshops and other events for carers, professionals and teachers.

The week will culminate in a BBC Radio 4 charity appeal broadcast, presented by Baroness Susan Greenfield.

When to tune in:

  •   Sunday 30 April at 7:55am or 9:26pm
  •   Thursday 4 May at 3:27pm

If you miss the live broadcast, you can catch up online from the Radio 4 website.

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