Julie Selwyn & Linda Briheim-Crookall (2023) 10,000 Voices insight paper – The views of children and young people in kinship foster care on their well-being, Rees Centre, Department of Education, University of Oxford and Coram Voice

 Just over a quarter of children in foster care (27%) live with a relative or friend. The 10,000 Voices insight paper – the views of children in kinship foster care on their well-being  explores their experience of care.


The views of children in kinship foster care on their well-being: Key findings and recommendations

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Key findings

The findings reinforce existing evidence that living with family and friends can be a positive experience for children who cannot remain with their birth parent.

The views of children and young people in kinship foster care on their well-being – Full report

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The findings reinforce the importance of making sure that children and young people feel heard and informed about their care. As in our previous 10,000 voices report on the views of children in care on their well-being, this report also clearly shows the importance of not treating all children in care as if they are the same. It is important to be mindful of where children live having an impact on their care experience.

Based on the findings the researchers make the following recommendations:

Try to make sure that a child’s first placement is their only placement by searching for and assessing relatives or friends as quickly as possible

Make sure that every child knows who their social worker is, how to contact them and that social workers visit regularly and see children on their own.

Ensure children and young people have an age-appropriate understanding of why they are living with a kinship carer and support carers around how to talk sensitively to children about their past and the reasons why they are not living with their parents.

Review contact plans regularly with children and young people and make sure they know where to turn if they are unhappy with how often they are seeing key people in their lives.

Talk to children about how they feel about their homes and bedrooms and explore creative solutions to make things better if they are unhappy, e.g. funding space saving furniture.

Support kinship carers with income maximisation and ensure they receive all the benefits and allowances they are entitled to.

Work with the kinship carer(s) and the family network to create a plan for the child’s care in case the kinship carer became unable to continue care, reassuring children that adults have planned and will keep them safe

Work with schools so that children and staff become more aware of the needs of children in different types of care and consider how they can support children in kinship care with bullying.