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Agenda item

Councillors Owers and Bird

This Council acknowledges the incredibly valuable job done by kinship carers in Cambridge, relatives and friends (most often grandparents) who care for children informally because their parents are no longer able to look after them, usually because of bereavement, ill-health, imprisonment, or addiction problems.

 

This Council acknowledges that, whilst foster carers and social care workers may make a significant contribution to the care of children unable to remain with their families, children raised by kinship carers typically have better educational and social outcomes relative to children brought up in non-kinship foster or social care. Each child raised by kinship carers also saves the taxpayer up to £56,000 a year.

 

This Council notes the existence of two Kinship Care support groups in Cambridge: Cambridge Kinship Carers, which meets at Bewick Bridge Primary School in Cherry Hinton, andKinship United, which meets at Nutfield Children’s Centre in Chesterton.

This council notes that these support groups currently receive no community development funding from the City Council, due to problems with the constitution and status of their organisation.

 

This Council notes the problems faced by such carers, such as the following:

 

-  Although children raised by kinship carers tend to progress better than children raised by non-kinship carers, they still typically experience much higher than average levels of anxiety and mental health problems, usually related to the high levels of adversity they have suffered in their early life. 88% have been abused or neglected.

 

-  Most kinship carers are either on low-fixed incomes, such as pensions, or have to give up work to become carers. 70% of kinship carers themselves have a longstanding health condition or disability. Due to these factors, and the financial burden placed on kinship carers by the responsibilities of bringing up a child, the majority of kinship carers experience severe poverty. They also suffer from a lack of restbite care and the difficulties of caring for children who usually have emotional, educational or behavioural problems.

 

 

-  Local authorities tend to provide support on the basis of legal status, rather than need, which disadvantages the 95% of kinship carers who care informally. LAs tend to discourage kinship carers from becoming formal kinship foster carers, who are entitled to higher levels of support, to keep down costs. This leaves the majority of kinship carers entitled to less help than foster carers, and unclear as to what support they are entitled to.

This Council notes that the 2011 Family and Friends Care Statutory Guidance statutory guidance requires all responsible local authorities to produce a policy outlining a consistent approach to supporting kinship carers based on need, rather than legal status.

This council notes that Cambridgeshire County Council has failed to produce such a policy.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

-  Request the Cambridge City Council Community Development team to liaise with the Cambridge Kinship support groups to advise them on how they may access support and funding.

 

-  Write to Cambridgeshire County Council, specifically the Cabinet member for Children and Young People's Services, to request the County Council to produce a policy on Family and Friends Care which outlines how they intend to provide consistent and transparent support to kinship carers based on need rather than legal status, and which addresses the discrepancies between the levels of support that kinship carers receive relative to foster carers.

 

Minutes:

Motion A

 

Councillor Owers proposed and Councillor Bird seconded the following motion:

 

“This Council acknowledges the incredibly valuable job done by kinship carers in Cambridge, relatives and friends (most often grandparents) who care for children informally because their parents are no longer able to look after them, usually because of bereavement, ill-health, imprisonment, or addiction problems.

 

This Council acknowledges that, whilst foster carers and social care workers may make a significant contribution to the care of children unable to remain with their families, children raised by kinship carers typically have better educational and social outcomes relative to children brought up in non-kinship foster or social care. Each child raised by kinship carers also saves the taxpayer up to £56,000 a year.

 

This Council notes the existence of two Kinship Care support groups in Cambridge: Cambridge Kinship Carers, which meets at Bewick Bridge Primary School in Cherry Hinton, andKinship United, which meets at Nuffield Children’s Centre in Chesterton.

 

This council notes that these support groups currently receive no community development funding from the City Council, due to problems with the constitution and status of their organisation.

 

This Council notes the problems faced by such carers, such as the following:

 

-  Although children raised by kinship carers tend to progress better than children raised by non-kinship carers, they still typically experience much higher than average levels of anxiety and mental health problems, usually related to the high levels of adversity they have suffered in their early life. 88% have been abused or neglected.

 

-  Most kinship carers are either on low-fixed incomes, such as pensions, or have to give up work to become carers. 70% of kinship carers themselves have a longstanding health condition or disability. Due to these factors, and the financial burden placed on kinship carers by the responsibilities of bringing up a child, the majority of kinship carers experience severe poverty. They also suffer from a lack of respite care and the difficulties of caring for children who usually have emotional, educational or behavioural problems.

 

-  Local authorities tend to provide support on the basis of legal status, rather than need, which disadvantages the 95% of kinship carers who care informally. LAs tend to discourage kinship carers from becoming formal kinship foster carers, who are entitled to higher levels of support, to keep down costs. This leaves the majority of kinship carers entitled to less help than foster carers, and unclear as to what support they are entitled to.

This Council notes that the 2011 Family and Friends Care Statutory Guidance statutory guidance requires all responsible local authorities to produce a policy outlining a consistent approach to supporting kinship carers based on need, rather than legal status.

 

This council notes that Cambridgeshire County Council has failed to produce such a policy.

 

This Council resolves to:

 

-  Request the Cambridge City Council Community Development team to liaise with the Cambridge Kinship support groups to advise them on how they may access support and funding.

 

-  Write to Cambridgeshire County Council, specifically the Cabinet member for Children and Young People's Services, to request the County Council to produce a policy on Family and Friends Care which outlines how they intend to provide consistent and transparent support to kinship carers based on need rather than legal status, and which addresses the discrepancies between the levels of support that kinship carers receive relative to foster carers.”

 

Resolved (unanimously) to agree the motion as set out above.