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Calls for greater rights for kinship carers

Grandparents and family carers in the North West have joined forces to call for better support for family members who are bringing up a relative’s child because of serious family problems.

A recent report from the Local Government Ombudsman highlighted that the help available from councils for grandparents and relatives raising children should be improved and that carers should be paid the same rates as foster carers, following a spate of cases where councils were found to be treating them unfairly.

As a result of an Ombudsman ruling earlier this year, over 300 kinship carers in Liverpool will see their allowances increased.

Over 70 grandparents and relatives bringing up children (known as kinship carers) took part in an event at Anfield Stadium, organised by national charity Grandparents Plus, with local support groups. One woman who took part is grandmother Janet Brown, who is raising her three grandchildren. She said that it is unfair that grandmothers like her do not get the same support as foster carers, who receive a fostering allowance.

“It’s absolutely illogical to differentiate between kinship children and foster children,” she explained. “There is no difference between these children except for the fact that we provide better outcomes.”

Across the UK an estimated 200,000 grandparents and other family members are raising up to 300,000 children. Most kinship carers receive very little financial or practical support with the challenges of raising children who have often experienced a very traumatic start in life.

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