Kinship Care Week is a national campaign led by Grandparents Plus which provides the opportunity to shine a light on and celebrate kinship families whilst raising awareness of the role of kinship carers and ultimately shouting a big, public THANK YOU! You can see what Grandparents Plus, the kinship care charity, is doing to celebrate #KinshipCareWeek and read about some amazing local kinship carers below.
If you are a local kinship carer take a look at our dedicated kinship carer page for lots of useful information.
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 families in the UK are raising over 200,000 children and kinship care can be life changing and challenging. Plans are pushed aside. Relationships, jobs and savings are sacrificed. Yet kinship carers do it without a thought for themselves because they put the children first.
Kinship Care Week increases understanding and recognition of the role of kinship carers and the challenges they often face, but importantly, it’s also an opportunity to thank kinship carers for the incredible job they do raising children.
The statistic above demonstrates the prevalence of kinship care in Middlesbrough. The statistics are based on the 2011 census.
Jane Harmer from Grandparents Plus has provided a guest blog to kickstart our local Kinship Care Week campaign. Jane works on the Middlesbrough Kinship Active project which is aimed at encouraging kinship families to improve their health and wellbeing though shared activity.
Kelly Baxter, our project lead, has been speaking to local kinship carers since the development of the communication and campaigns project in January 2020. Here is what Kelly has to say:
I have had the privilege and pleasure of speaking with several Middlesbrough kinship carers over the previous months. Kinship carers provide stability and family to children who have often endured difficult and traumatic experiences.
Local carers experiences, coupled with national research, have highlighted that many people are becoming kinship carers with little notice, time, information or support to consider their options.
The pandemic has exacerbated the daily challenges kinship carers face yet, despite the adversity, kinship families just get on with it. They provide love, care, compassion and a safe environment for kinship kids to thrive.
We know that care within the family is the best option for children; to be with somebody they know and trust. Yet kinship care continues to be an afterthought with little resource and support available for kinship carers."
I have the utmost respect and appreciation to all kinship carers. Thank you!"
We Care You Care is committed to raising awareness of all caring in Middlesbrough and aims to ensure all local carers have access to relevant accessible information, advice and signposting as soon as they need it.
So, lets meet some local kinship carers and hear about their experiences:
Meet Jane, a kinship carer from Middlesbrough her looks after her two granddaughters.
Liz and Frank Stanton are kinship carers for their grandson Jensen (all pictured below with Jensen's half sister Vienna).
Liz and Frank set up Charwood Kinship Carers Group as a direct result of their own experiences of becoming kinship carers, six and a half years ago, with the desire to support other kinship carers across Teesside. They have participated in a question and answer session with us to highlight some of the challenges they have faced, the positive aspects of kinship care and how the pandemic has affect them.
We thank Liz, Frank and Jane for everything they do to raise awareness about kinship care locally, for sharing their stories and for their dedication and commitment to supporting local kinship families.
New animated film for Kinship Care Week
Grandparents Plus has teamed up with award winning production company My Pockets to launch a new film for Kinship Care Week, ‘Something to be proud of’, which tells the story of one child’s journey into kinship care. The film also features a voiceover from actress Ria Zmitrowicz, who starred in the Bafta winning series Three Girls.
The film, which is Grandparents Plus first animated film, uses animated balls of wool to tell the story of how one child ends up being cared for by her auntie.
Grandparents Plus hopes the film will raise awareness of kinship care, and the incredible role kinship carers play in raising children.
Kinship Response is a free service provided by Grandparents Plus and is available for all local kinship carers. The service is open to ALL kinship carers regardless of legal orders until 31 October 2020, after this time referrals can still be made for Sprecial Guardians until 31 December 2020. Read more about the service and how to access it.
More Amazing Local Kinship Families
Latest Kinship Research
Grandparents Plus annual survey of kinship carers, State of the Nation 2020, shows that kinship carers have been left struggling without the support and advice they need to keep their families together.
Parlimentary Taskforce on Kinship Care