How do you pivot your service in a pandemic and increase your service delivery by over 400%? And make sure you’re providing incredible, high quality service to kinship carers? This is what the Programmes Team in Kinship did. Kinship carers are the grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, other family members and friends who step up to raise children when their parents can’t. Kinship families are raising over 200,000 children – keeping the out of the care system.
At the outset of the pandemic, kinship carers reported to us feeling scared about catching the virus, and what would happen to their children if they fell seriously ill or died. As the lockdown continued, concerns moved from home-schooling and the impact of lockdown on the children in their care, to exhaustion from caring for the children 24 hours a day without a break. They were, and continue to be, deeply concerned about the uncertainties of living with a ‘new normal’.
Kinship Response was adapted from our existing Kinship Connected programme to meet the evolving and growing needs of kinship carers. It was developed in consultation with local authorities and kinship carers, to provide targeted and time limited telephone and virtual support during the pandemic.