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Ridley & Hall Celebrates Foster Care Fortnight

by Ridley & Hall in Anthony Sykes, Kinship Care posted May 24, 2024.
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At Ridley & Hall, we are celebrating Foster Care Fortnight, an awareness campaign led by The Fostering Network. This campaign not only amplifies the voices of these unsung heroes but also raises much-needed awareness. The key message? Thousands of foster carers are required each year, especially for older children, large sibling groups, children with complex disabilities, and in recent years, asylum-seeking children. So, why are kinship carers so crucial?

The Statistics

In March 2023, the Government reported that there were 83,840 children in foster care, reflecting a 2% rise from 2022. This steady increase over recent years means that, on average, 71 out of every 10,000 children are now looked after. Of the 83,840 children, 68% (or 57,020 children) are placed in foster care. As of March 2023, there were 43,400 fostering households, including those approved by Local Authorities and family and friend placements.

While the number of mainstream foster placements has decreased by 11%, family and friends’ households have increased by 21% to fill the gap. Kinship foster care, which accounts for around 21% of all foster children, involves unique challenges and often lacks the support provided to mainstream foster carers.

Kinship Carers in Crisis

As of October 2023, nearly 26% of kinship carers reported facing severe financial challenges, with 12% indicating they might have to stop caring within the next year. This could leave around 19,000 vulnerable children without the support, love, and safe environment they need. The rising cost of living and other factors are exacerbating the struggles faced by kinship carers.

The lack of support for kinship carers negatively impacts children and sibling relationships. Many families can only afford to take on one child, and kinship carers often have their own children to care for as well. Local Authorities frequently tell kinship carers that they are not entitled to support because they are related to the children or because the placement is considered a “private family arrangement.” Many kinship carers are forced to leave their jobs to care for their young relatives. Regardless of the nature of the placement, these children need support.

The Benefits and Challenges of Kinship Care

While mainstream foster carers receive significantly more support, keeping a looked-after child within their family offers substantial benefits. Children in kinship placements generally feel safer, more secure, and loved, which positively affects their stability and identity. In contrast, about 50% of mainstream foster placements experience at least two or three moves.

It is evident that kinship placements offer the best and most suitable care for many looked-after children. The lack of assistance from Local Authorities is a significant concern. In May 2022, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care recommended that the Government introduce a mandatory financial allowance for all kinship carers. Although the Government has acknowledged this, nothing has yet been implemented.

Kinship Care at Ridley & Hall

Many kinship carers are unfortunately pushed into Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) with little or no support from Local Authorities. Ridley & Hall’s kinship care solicitors are committed to advocating for and supporting SGO family kinship carers, ensuring they receive the necessary assistance. If you would like to discuss your case with us, please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialist kinship care solicitors.

Anthony Sykes Headshot

Anthony Sykes – Paralegal




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