Family carers who agree to give up work to become full-time “parents” to the children of relatives, in order to prevent them being taken into care, are being left penniless and homeless by welfare changes. Kinship carers are typically grandparents, aunts or older siblings who step in voluntarily to bring up child relatives after the birth parent dies or is unable to continue because of illness or neglect.
A new survey carried out by Family Rights Group and Grandparents Plus, found that nearly half of respondents had given up work and a quarter had reduced their hours, while nine out of 10 had endured financial hardship. Many had spent all their savings, or had been forced into debt or rent arrears. Several said they had been evicted.
Campaigners have called for kinship carers to receive the same rights and allowances as foster carers and adoptive parents, including paid employment leave while the child is settling in. They also want kinship carers to be exempt from the benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the two-child benefits limit.
Around 200,000 children in the UK are being raised in kinship care by family members or friends. These families need more recognition and support. Watch a video
Read more on GrandParentsPlus website