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Adoption kinfest aug 2012
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Adoption kinfest aug 2012


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My views on Kinship Care and the need for it be properly supported, but only when its a better option for the child than adoption or fostering

My views on Kinship Care and the need for it be properly supported, but only when its a better option for the child than adoption or fostering

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  • 1. There is a lot of nonsense written about my views about KinshipCare, sometimes by organisations which should know better and whoinsist on seeing adoption as being in direct competition with KinshipCare. To be blunt, I think that’s absurd. There are about sixty sixthousand children in care in England and last year there were onlythree thousand adoptions.So I’m grateful to be given this opportunity to be very clear aboutwhat I really believe. And that is that when a child cannot live withhis or her parents, whether because of neglect or for any otherreason, the first place that we should look when searching for a newand permanent home for the child is the wider family. Grandparentsfirst I would say, and then other relatives, although the search shouldnot go on forever as more and more unrealistic options are explored.I was staggered to discover a case last year where a Court orderedthe consideration of the suitability of a relative living in Somalia tocare for a British toddler (and depressed by the practitioner at aCommunity Care Conference who sought to defend such nonsense)But, there is a “but” here and an important “but”. Before a decision ismade on kinship care we must be quite sure that we are notcompromising the interests of the child. Where neglect has been thereason for removal, and if we think the child might be furtherneglected, perhaps because the grandparents might allow aneglectful parent too close an involvement in the child’s life, weshould look at other options. Or, where we are simply uncertain ofthe capacity or willingness of relatives to give a child the sameopportunities afforded by alternative care arrangements, particularlyadoption, we should look elsewhere. I have no truck with notionsabout blood being thicker than water. If that were a reliable test thenthere would never be a need to remove a child from his or her birthparents.I see grandparents as the first port of call when looking for a new andpermanent home for a child not because blood is thicker than waterbut simply because grandparents have a vital start on any otherpotential carer: they already love the child and the child alreadyloves them.I know that, not least because of my getting to know some of thegrandparents who have come together to form Kinfest. Theirmotivation to look after their grandchildren is motivated by
  • 2. unselfishness and love for the child. But too often such altruism ispunished by grave financial difficulties, as couples that have reducedincomes suitable for a life approaching or in retirement, suddenlyhave to cope with the expense of child rearing once again. It’simportant that kinship carers do not find the burden of careoverwhelming. Although I think there will sometimes be very goodreasons for preferring adoption to kinship care, the affordability ofthe kinship care for the relatives should never be one of them.Martin Nareynareymartin@gmail.comGovernment Advisor on Adoption