Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers, especially older carers

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers

This paper demonstrates how recognising the value of kinship care, and addressing the challenges faced by children and carers, is likely to lead to a range of positive outcomes, including improved education and child protection, and better physical health and psychosocial well-being for older persons.

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of children who have lost one or both parents are looked after by relatives, in many countries, the effects of HIV & AIDS have left older relatives caring for children, and in countries such as Malawi, where large numbers of adults migrate for work, children are being cared for by their grandparents or other relatives.

Most of these arrangements are informal and therefore children and their carers may be missing out on social protection and benefits. Older carers may find it difficult to support children financially. While many kinship carers do their best, children, especially girls, may be exposed to discrimination and abuse.

The prevalence of kinship care means that this issue is not just of concern for those with a narrow alternative care or child protection remit, but also requires commitments from agencies working in health, social protection, justice and education to ensure that the needs of children in kinship care and their carers are met.

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