Three years ago I got involved with the charity Grandparents Plus. I have run one half marathon and the London Marathon for them so far. I am aiming to run the Royal Parks Half this October again for them. I now work one day a week for this charity. It is the highlight of my week coming to work with them.
Grandparents Plus is the only national charity (England and Wales)dedicated to supporting kinship carers – family and friends raising children who aren't able to live with their parents. It is estimated that there are 200,000 children in kinship carer. That’s three times the number of children in foster care - and it is increasing.
Typically, kinship carers are older, in poor health and live in poverty – 75% of children in kinship care are growing up in deprived households. Of the children growing up in kinship care 66% have experienced abuse or neglect, 68% parental drug or alcohol misuse and others a parent’s mental illness or death.
The support available to kinship carers is much more limited than that given to foster carers or adopted carers. Many kinship carers are pushed to breaking point and are worried that they won’t be able to continue. If that happens, they may be forced to put the children they are raising into care.
Through our advice service and network, we help kinship carers by
providing support, giving independent guidance, and connecting them with each other. Our programmes are developed with kinship carers for kinship carers, and are changing lives by strengthening families across the country.