Did you know that one in ten children around the world live with extended family members instead of their parents? It’s often the best care arrangement for children who don’t live with their mum or dad; and yet it’s largely unrecognised and undervalued. Now we’re working together to call for better support and rights for families like these. As a Family supporter, you’ll share our vision of a world where every child can grow up in a permanent, safe and caring family. But we recognise that families are diverse, and not all children can live with their birth parents. That’s why it’s crucial we invest in supporting alternative types of care that can give children the best chance at a healthy and happy start in life.

What is kinship care?

‘Kinship care’ is simply a way of describing families where children are looked after by grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives who are not their parents.

Kinship care presents a paradox. Generally speaking, children who grow up in the care of their extended family have better outcomes than those placed into foster care. Kinship care means that less children are placed into harmful institutions, and it can save the state money, too. It’s also the type of alternative care most children prefer. Nevertheless, growing up in kinship care can still present challenges for the child and their caregivers and, in most countries, there’s no support whatsoever for these families.

We believe this must change.

At Family, we believe governments should invest in psychosocial, financial, educational and child protection services and support to ensure these children have the best start in life. That’s why a number of our member organisations are coming together to bring attention to the incredible difference that kinship care makes to the world.

Thanks to your support, we’ve developed an important new piece of research – and now we’re starting to shout about what we’ve learnt. In Africa – where one in three children are in kinship care in some regions – we’ve already developed a plan to lobby governments for better support for these families. Your generosity is making it possible for us to stand up for extended families – and, together, we’ll make change happen. 

We’ll be sharing more about kinship care in upcoming issues of Family Matters, but if you’d like to learn more, download our research report today.