Cost of living: Families who care for relatives’ children in crisis

People who take in relatives’ children to keep them out of the care system, fear having to give them up as living costs soar, says the charity Kinship.

In England and Wales, most kinship carers get less financial support than foster carers and some have warned they are now struggling, says the charity. 

Ministers say they are working to identify how best to improve support.

But rising prices mean Laura Thornton, who cares for two half-siblings, gets “threatening letters” about her debts.

Laura is among almost 1,500 kinship carers in England and Wales who responded to the charity’s survey. Between them they look after more than 2,000 children. But the survey suggested:

  • Almost nine in 10 struggled to make ends meet, highlighting problems with rising heating bills, the cost of food, children’s clothes, and rent or mortgage payments
  • Just under a third feared severe financial strain could prevent them continuing to care for their children
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