Kinship care is when a child is looked after by a grandparent or other close relative because it is not possible for them to remain with their birth parents.
It is estimated that over 200,000 grandparents in the UK care for one or more grandchild. Of these 67% are as a result of substance misuse.
Looking after a child can have an impact on the grandparents, such as financial difficulties, poor health, and changes to personal and work circumstances. Life is often a double-edged sword for grandparents, as they cope with their child’s substance misuse and with caring for their grandchildren, and they often report all areas of their lives being affected through being a kinship carer.
“I had to change my whole life….I was with somebody for 14 years who I had to give up when my grand-daughter came to live with me”.
Similarly this also has a large impact on the children, including feeling rejected, confusion about not being able to see their parents, disrupted sleep and routines and developmental delays.
“I think she is confused and you can see she’s spiteful……but she’s polite, she’s intelligent, very intelligent but I think her poor little head must be spinning with what goes on”
Benefits of Kinship Care
- Grandparents are involved in the children’s lives
- Knowledge that they are safe, loved and cared for
- Help through difficult times e.g ill health or bereavement
- Creates stability, security, love, routine, fun, discipline for the children
- Keeping siblings together
- keeping children out of the care system
Aquarius steps in to help support these Kinship Carers by offering:
- Individual support for kinship carer
- Family sessions with kinship carer and children
- Groups and activities for kinship carers
- Groups and activities for children
- Online forums for kinship carers and young people
- Activities/Fun days for families
- Training professionals in needs of kinship carers
- Produce and distribute a directory of local and national resources