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ADCS response: National Kinship Care Strategy

ADCS President John Pearce said:

“The importance of kinship care or extended family care cannot be overstated. All forms of permanence are important and kinship care can offer children the stability and love they need where there is family breakdown through the continuation of existing relationships with extended family members or friends. As the number of children in our care continues to rise, including the use of these arrangements, it becomes even more important to have a system that provides the right support. ADCS welcomes the government’s focus on emphasising its value and ensuring that kinship carers get the support they need. Over the years, foster care, adoption and residential care (which remain important parts of the care system) have all had greater national focus than kinship care so we are pleased to see the long-awaited publication of this strategy. The kinship care strategy outlines a number of positive steps to better support the development of kinship arrangements, however, there is a lot of detail to work through. It is essential that we get this right for children and families.

“The current system of kinship care is complex, there is a lack of understanding about the nature and status of kinship care and the breadth of arrangements that exist. It is positive that the strategy seeks to resolve this. Access to support is often dependent on having a legal order which can mean children who have similar needs aren’t eligible for similar support and can also bring families into the legal process unnecessarily. The strategy outlines ways to address this issue, however, ADCS encourages government to provide financial support to carers via the welfare system in the form of a ‘child benefit plus’ payment. This would reduce any stigma and ensure that all families who are entitled to this support receive it without unnecessary state intervention and LA oversight.

“The kinship care strategy offers a vehicle to change the way we work with and support a significant number of our children for the better. ADCS recently published a paper outlining our principles of extended family care, one that successfully engages family members, friends and connected persons from the outset to identify the most appropriate caring arrangements for the children they care about. ADCS will continue to engage with government as the strategy progresses. Above all else, it is important that the needs and best interests of each individual child always remains at the heart of decision making.”


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