A big Brum thank you to all our kinship carers

Published: 5th Oct 2020

This Kinship Care Week we're saying a big thank you to all the kinship carers keeping children safe in Birmingham.

Kinship Care Week

Kinship Care Week aims to increase the understanding and recognition of the vital role of kinship carers and the challenges they often face. Most importantly, it is also an opportunity to thank kinship carers for the incredible job they do raising children and keeping them safe in their family network. Thank you!

What is kinship care?

Kinship care often begins with a family crisis, with a child whose parents are no longer able to care for them. When a loved one steps in – a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or family friend, they become a kinship carer, bringing up the children they love.

Kinship care can take lots of different forms and can be informal or formal. Find out more about the different types of kinship care.

What is it like to be a kinship carer?

In the UK, kinship families are raising over 200,000 children! For carers, kinship care can be life changing and challenging. Plans are pushed aside. Relationships, jobs and savings are sacrificed. Yet kinship carers do it anyway, without a thought for themselves because they put the children first.

Although it is incredibly challenging, it is rewarding. 

Penny, a kinship carer in Birmingham explains, how her life changed when she took in her two great nieces: 

Your whole family dynamic changes and that can be hard to come to terms with. Even our friendship groups have changed – people our age, in their 50s, just didn’t have the same rhythm of life with bedtime routines and playschool. I am so grateful for the new friends we made along the way and for the support of other people in our position”.

Support available

Our dedicated family and friends team are here to support kinship carers that are fostering the children in their care or caring for children via a Special Guardianship Order(SGO). We will ensure that if you are fostering you will have a supervising social worker to support you throughout your journey as a kinship carer. If you are caring via an SGO you will be able to access support and advice via the family and friends team. In addition, we run regular training sessions and a peer to per support group so you can meet people in your situation and support one another.

Anne, recently reached out to the Trust for support. She says: "I don't know what I'd have done without my social worker. She's amazing. Everything about my granddaughter's behaviour makes sense now and I know how to support her through therapeutic parenting". 

Other sources of support include:

  • Grandparents Plus. Grandparents Plus work with kinship carers to support them in their lives and their role as kinship carers.
  • Family Rights Group. Family Rights Group work to keep more children safe in their families.
    • Along with former MP Anna Turley, Family Rights Group also set up the Cross-party Parliamentary Taskforce on Kinship Care to highlight the importance of Kinship Care for children who cannot live with their parents. In 2020, the taskforce published a report called First Thought Not Afterthought. It makes a series of recommendations for Government, local authorities and other public agencies to help deliver a vision for kinship care. Read the report and get involved.

Find out more about kinship care in Birmingham