The Early Help Model for Kinship Care

Location: England
Demographic: professionals who work with kinship carers
Delivery setting: communities
Years active: 2015 – 2016
Contact email:
Keywords: kinship care; communities; professionals; training


Theory of Change for the Early Help Model

  • Early Help Model for Kinship Care educates professionals about how to identify and understand the needs of kinship care families.
  • Professionals will increase their awareness of the challenges kinship families may face, so they are better equipped to support them.
  • Kinship families are strengthened, meaning children and young people in kinship care are less likely to be in statutory care, more resilient to risks and can fulfil their potential.


A project to train kinship care professionals

Across the UK, there are around 200,000 grandparents and kinship carers raising up to 300,000 children who can’t live with their parents. Almost 70% of children in kinship care are there because of parental drug or alcohol misuse.

Kinship carers can face huge difficulties including poverty, lack of support and feelings of stress, isolation and stigma. To address this, Mentor UK has joined forces with Grandparents Plus4Children and the Childhood Bereavement Network to develop an exciting new support model. With funding from the Department for Education, the four partners will develop an Early Help Model to reach more kinship carers and help them access vital information and support services.

The Early Help Model will include a bespoke training course, designed and delivered by Mentor UK, for professionals who come into contact with kinship carers, which will raise awareness of the particular challenges kinship families may face and the support that is available, especially involving  those caring for a child because of parental drug or alcohol misuse.

Over the course of the grant, we aim to reach 300 professionals with a training programme covering the needs of kinship carers, and develop a substance misuse training manual for professionals and kinship carers.

There are many challenges facing kinship carers and the young people they look after. A recent study on discrimination against kinship carers from Grandparents Plus found 7 in 10 report feeling stressed, depressed or isolated, and almost half (43%) experienced stigma and discrimination from teachers, social workers and/or parents.

And while 77% of kinship carers have asked for professional help, two thirds of those who asked did not receive the support they needed. Early support for both kinship carers and the children they care for is essential – which is why this Early Help Model is so important, and a project we are delighted to be involved in.

By putting kinship carers at the heart of this early help model, we will:

  • raise awareness of the relevant issues facing kinship carers among professionals
  • improve understanding and help service providers to identify family carers and situations that may require early intervention
  • help bring information to family carers at an early stage, to reduce the risk of isolation and enhance their ability to make informed decisions
  • offer additional professional advice and peer support via the Grandparents Plus advice and support networks
  • provide cost-effective support, preventing children from coming into care and improving outcomes for children by facilitating permanence and stability.

To find out more about the Early Help Model, visit the Grandparents Plus website or call 020 8981 8001.

Do you work with kinship care families?

If you are a professional (teacher, practitioner, social or community worker, etc.) who works with kinship families and you would like to register your interest in the training workshops, click below: