Family and friends care studies

We have published a number of publications and reports on family and friends carers raising children unable to live with their families that you can download for free.

Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A good practice guide
Developed by Family Rights Group in partnership with an expert working group, February 2017

The guide sets out best practice as to how viability assessments should be conducted. It lists what factors social workers conducting the assessment need to consider, including when undertaking assessments with family members overseas. It also includes research evidence, a schedule and example template and an information sheet for a family and friends carers.

It is endorsed by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Family Justice Council and Cafcass.

Doing the right thing: A report on the experiences of kinship carers
By Ashley C, Aziz R and Braun D. October 2015

Family Rights Group's research found that almost half (49%) of kinship carers have had to give up work permanently to care for the kinchild, and a further 18% had to give up work temporarily. Our survey also found that 22% of kinship care households had 3 or more children aged 18 or under. 63% of these households currently receive child tax credit. 34% of these households receive housing benefit.

Could do better... Must do better: A study of family and friends care local authority policies
By Mercer A, Lindley B, Hopkins A, Edited by Ashley C. March 2015

This report is based upon research by Family Rights Group that reveals 26 (17%) of English local authorities, including 30% of London local authorities, are failing to comply with the most basic requirement of statutory guidance issued in 2011, to have a published policy setting out their approach towards promoting and supporting the needs of children living with family and friends carers.

The study analyses 53 family and friends care policies, to identify how they are complying with statutory family and friends care guidance and to highlight good practice. It includes a check list to assist local authorities to develop and improve their policies.

What happens to siblings in the care system?
By Ashley C, Roth D Family Rights Group. January 2015

This report investigates the experience of siblings in the care system. It found that half (49.5%) of all sibling groups in local authority care are split up and that 37% of children in care who have at least one other sibling in care are living with none of their siblings. The research also found that although relatively few looked after children live with kinship foster carers, it appears to be particularly conducive to supporting siblings to be able to live together. The report sets out a series of recommendations to enable more siblings in care to live together, when it is in their welfare interests.

It’s just not fair: Support, need and legal status in family and friends care
Hunt J and Waterhouse S. 2013

This major report reports the findings of a 3 year study on family and friends carers who are raising children unable to live with their parents. Conducted by Joan Hunt from University of Oxford with Family Rights Group and funded by the Big Lottery, the study explores the link between the child’s needs, support and legal status. It finds conclusively that support bears little relationships to need, but is primarily determined by whether a child is in the care system or not, regardless of the difficulties and adversities they may have experienced.

Relative Poverty: Study of Family and Friends Care in London
Roth D, Aziz R, Ashley C and Lindley B. 2013

More children are raised in family and friends care in London (in the main by their grandparents or older siblings when they cannot live with their parents) than in any other region of England or the UK. This is the first study that specifically examines the circumstances of family and friends carers in London, and the children they are raising, including levels of financial and material deprivation. It recommends measures for local and national government to improve policy and practice for these children and carers.

Understanding Family and Friends care studies

Family and friends carers, who are raising some of the nation’s most vulnerable children, are being left to fend for themselves and suffer significant levels of hardship as local authorities fail to implement central government policy, according to major new research we have launched in March 2012.

Big Bruv Little Sis
Editor: Ashley C; Authors: Roth D, Lindley B, Ashley C. 2011

Drawing on the stories of twelve sibling carers, as well as an internet survey and an international literature review, we make recommendations which aim to make sure that these undervalued carers and the children they are raising get the support they need.

Managing contact
Editor: Ashley C; Contributors: Roth D, Tunnard J, Lindley B, De Gaye A, Ashley C. 2011

Research findings on managing contact with parents and relatives for children living in family and friends care arrangements.