“We take care of kids in crisis too” – Kinship carers meet in Westminster to demand equal rights to adoptive families
Nigel Priestley Senior Partner at Ridley and Hall joined over 50 Carers at the Time to Care summit held at Methodist Central Hall in London
Commenting he said “it was inspiring to meet the unsung heroes who are providing the care that many damaged children desperately need. It was encouraging to find that the Grandparents Plus recent poll showed that the Public backs charity’s call for paid leave for family carers and end to “hierarchy of care”
Grandparents Plus brought over 50 grandparents and family carers from across England and Wales for a summit with the Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson MP and other MPs and peers to challenge the Government on their treatment of kinship carers who are bringing up children as a result of extremely difficult family circumstances.
The summit – #timetocare about kinship care – was held as the charity published new poll findings to show the public overwhelmingly supports their call for grandparents and kinship carers who give a permanent home to children to be entitled to the same employment rights as adopters which would give them paid leave for the first time, with 76% in support, 41% strongly supporting. Polled grandparents who care for grandchildren are also overwhelmingly in favour with 88% in support.
A hidden army of 200,000 family or ‘kinship carers’ are raising up to 300,000 children across the UK. This could be because parents have died or are ill, because of parental drug or alcohol misuse, abuse or neglect, domestic violence, imprisonment or a combination of factors. The charity has calculated that it would cost taxpayers £12 billion a year in care costs alone if those children were in independent foster care. Yet kinship carers are currently not entitled to financial or practical support from their local authority unless the children are “looked after” children.
Commenting Nigel Priestley said “it was great to find the support many grandparent Carers receive from being part of Kinship Care support groups. There were Carers from all over England and Wales who showed a fierce determination to ensure that local authorities recognise the important role they are playing.”
Once again the critical importance of Carers having specialist legal advice was clear. Some of those who had been sent by their local authority to see a solicitor found that the person they saw simply didn’t understand the legal responsibilities of Councils.”