We got custody of our Granddaughters in 2009. At first we thought we were only going to have them for a few months but here we are over 4 years later and they are still with us. We are now officially Kinship carers.
When we first got the children they were 4 1/2 and 22 months. Our lives were turned upside down. I’d like to say that things do get easier as time goes on but I can’!. As the children grow so do the problems, instead of nappy changing and trips to nursery we have school work, after school clubs and trying to keep them occupied to contend with.
We can’t imagine our life without them now, but at the beginning it was very hard. You are basically giving up your life when you take the responsibility for your Grandchildren,
Kinship Care In The UK Is Rising
The Children and Young People’s Act 2008 states that family and friends care should be the first option when children cannot live with their parents. Some kinship children live in informal arrangements, whilst others live under different types of legal arrangements. In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of Special Guardianship Orders granted for previously looked after children.
A series of court judgements have indicated that local authorities need to give greater regard to family members when looking at long term placements for children who cannot live with birth parents.
The latest UK figures I could find showed that there are up to 300,000 children being raised by their grandparents, other family members or friends. An estimated 200,000 of these are grandparents.
Many Grandparents don’t have their Grandchildren living with them but they do care for them on a regular basis. Latest figures show that there are approximately 14 million Grandparents in the UK. One in every three people over the age of 50 years old is a Grandparent.
In the past two generations, the number of children being cared for by their Grandparents has increased substantially from 33% to 82%. Almost two-thirds of all Grandparents (approx 5 million) regularly look after their Grandchildren.