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Family Rights Group’s spring newsletter


Campaigning to improve support for children in family and friends care

Advice service news

Latest new additions and updates to our website

First national survey of children raised by family and friends carers

Walk, run or worse in aid of Family Rights Group


New reports from Family Rights Group

Your Family Your Voice, An Alliance of Families and Practitioners Working to Transform the System

Work for Family Rights Group


Campaigning to improve support for children in family and friends care


Family Rights Group is at the forefront of the Kinship Care Alliance’s policy and campaign work.

The Kinship Care Alliance’s vision statement

When children are unable to live safely with their parents, then their family and friends should be the first port of call to provide them with love, care and security. These family and friends carers should be recognised and valued. Both the carers and the children should have their voices heard and needs met so that the children can flourish.

We have now published The Kinship Care Alliance Agenda for Action setting out practical policies to realise this vision.

The good news is that our concerted campaigning has led to the Labour Party manifesto explicitly stating that

“We will increase support for children in kinship care (also known as family and friends care) and their families, a group that have been too overlooked and undervalued.” 

This announcement follows a meeting between ourselves, Alan Johnson MP and Rebecca and Bradley, young people raised by their kinship carers, with Tristram Hunt MP and Steve McCabe MPTristram Hunt MP, as Shadow Secretary of State for Education, followed by an event we hosted in which children raised by their kinship carers and the carers themselves discussed their experiences with Tristram Hunt MP and Steve McCabe MP. 

We also held meetings with Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families and the Number 10 Policy Unit.
But we need your help to continue to raise awareness and support for children in family and friends care

a)    Please elobby your parliamentary candidates – it is the ideal time to catch their attention and help ensure that post election there is understanding and commitment amongst MPs across the political divide which follows through into action.  It’ll take you 5 minutes, it’s a very easy process and there is model letter for you to use, but please do amend to reflect the reasons you feel strongly about this.

b)    Find out who has signed up to support the Kinship Care Alliance Agenda for Action and pledge your support.



Advice service news


We are very relieved to have received funding from the Department for Education national prospectus grant for the advice service from 1 April 2015-31 March 2016.  Unfortunately however, government funding for the service has reduced by nearly 20% in the last two years, whilst demand from families needing advice has continued to rise.  As a result we have been forced to suspend the email service and the advice line remains extremely busy – we are unfortunately only able to assist less then 4 in 10 families contacting us.  


Latest new additions and updates to our website


Our website content is expanding all the time. It’s attracting more and more visitors - last month over 30,000 people visited our website and on-line forums, the highest number in our history.

In the last few weeks:


First national survey of children raised by family and friends carers


We would love to hear the views of children being raised by grandparents or older siblings or in other family and friends care arrangements. This is the first national survey of its kind. The survey asks the children whether and how they’d like to meet or hear about others raised in family and friends care, and what resources they would find useful.  The results of the survey will be published on the website and will influence Family Rights Group's work including what we try and get funding to do.

We have not put a closing date – instead our aim is that at least 100 children and young people complete the survey.


Walk, run, or worse (!) in aid of Family Rights Group

The London Legal Walk, Monday, 18th May 2015 from 5pm
Please do join our friendly team of walkers for a lovely stroll in central London. Any monies you can raise will enable us to help more desperate families.
FRG runners at the Royal Parks Half Marathon 2014
The British 10k London Run, 12th July 2015
We have 12 places for this run which takes you past some of London's most iconic sites. Sign up now for one of our charity places, you'll pay a £30 registration fee and we ask that you aim to raise £150 in sponsorship.

Great North Run, half marathon, 13th September 2015
We have 10 places for the world's greatest half marathon. Sign up now for one of our charity places. You need to commit to raising £300 in sponsorship.

The Survival of the Fittest, 21st November 2015
This is a 10 kilometre obstacle challenge around a new course in Wembley Stadium. You scramble over mud-filled skips, hurdle over hay bales, crawl over ice and take on the infamous Health Wall of Fame. There is a £40 entry fee and we ask that you aim to raise £150.
Interested? Please contact or ring 020 7923 2628.

Join our supporters’ network


There is another way of helping us without even getting out of your chair – sign up to become a Family Rights Group supporter!

By joining the Family Rights Group Supporters’ Network and making a donation, no matter how big or small, you can make a crucial contribution to our work.

You can choose to make a single online donation or complete a form to set up a regular donation. All donations make a difference, but it is the regular and consistent payments that provide continuing help to families in need of support.


New reports from Family Rights Group


A big thank you to The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for funding the following reports which can be download for free from our website.

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

This new Family Rights Group report reveals that 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 friend 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 Cathy Ashley and David Roth, January 2015

Our report investigates the experience of siblings in the care system, drawing upon replies to a freedom of information request sent to all English local authorities. 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 found that kinship foster care appears to be particularly conducive to supporting siblings in care 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 their welfare interests.


Your Family Your Voice, An Alliance of Families and Practitioners Working to Transform the System


The Alliance works:

  • To counter the stigma, negative presumptions and judgemental approaches to families whose children are subject to, or at risk of, state intervention by influencing how these families are perceived by the public and portrayed by the media and politicians;
  • to influence law, policy, practice and service design and delivery so that our child welfare, child mental health, youth justice and education systems promote effective human functioning and healthy relationships;
  • To enable these families to have a voice in policy and decision-making circles.

Join the Alliance

We are keen to encourage anyone who shares our values and purpose to join Membership is free, you can apply on-line and you can commit as much or as little as you wish. Alongside all member events, we are developing regional group, an on-line discussion board and hold project working groups.

The next meeting of the Alliance is on 3rd June 2015 in central London.  It is an opportunity to get involved in the Alliance & to:North West regional launch of Your Family Your Voice

  • Discuss the implications for the Alliance of the General Election results
  • Consider the content of new draft parents' charter developed by the Alliance’s Parents’ Panel – and how to progress implementation.  The Charter sets out expectations of how services should engage with parents subject to statutory interventions
  • Examine with practitioners, including social workers priorities for system, policy & practice changes, drawing upon initial findings from the social workers' survey (see below).

For further information and to register interest in this free event contact

Request to social workers:
Would you be willing to pilot a survey that the Alliance has drawn up to get a better understanding of your motivations for going into the profession, whether these are being fulfilled and your priorities for the next Government?  We are keen to trial the survey before promoting it far and wide. If willing, please contact .


Work for Family Rights Group


We are currently recruiting for the following posts - all are based in our offices in Dalston, London. To find out more about these posts and download the job application pack go to our website.

  • Policy Adviser (Young parents) (17.5 hours per week) fixed term contract for 18 months. The deadline for the return of completed forms is Noon 24th April 2015.
  • Web designer/developer (17.5 hours per week to job share with the current postholder. The deadline for the return of completed forms is 5pm on Friday 17th April 2015.
  • Sessional Advisers. London based, hours are negotiable. £22 per hour (plus £3 per hour holiday pay). There is no closing date but we recommend you send in an application by 30 April 2015.

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Family Rights Group
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