Kinship Care: How is the role perceived? What are the specific difficulties and support needs?

  • Catherine Hughes

Student thesis: Phd


Many countries have seen an increase in the last 20 years in the number of children cared for by their Grandparents (Edwards & Sweeney, 2007; Edwards & Taub, 2009; Worrall, 2009). In the UK, Looked After Children (LAC) are increasingly being placed with kinship carers, formally known as 'Family and Friends Care' following guidance from The Children's Act (2004). Support for this growing group of carers appears sporadic, and there has been some delay both in practice and procedures in responding to this increase in placement type. Children who are looked after by any carer other than their birth parents are more likely to experience difficulties within the educational context (Dent & Cameron, 2003). The increasing number of these children has implications for child and educational psychologists and other professionals within Children's Services, as research suggests that children's success in school depends upon contextual variables associated with the child, their home and school environments.This study explores the characteristics of kinship carers, how they perceive their role and the support currently available to them and also examines the reported educational progress made by children in their care. In addition, this exploratory study considers whether a model developed from Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a useful conceptual framework for professionals supporting KCs. This research uses a case study design; qualitative data has been obtained using semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis.Difficulties and support requirements varied across kinship carers, the majority of whom were pleased with the support they received, particularly from their families. There were some criticisms of Children's Services support. Recommendations are made for both Children's Services staff generally and child and educational psychologists specifically.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGarry Squires (Supervisor) & Kevin Woods (Supervisor)


  • Positive Youth Development
  • Kinship care
  • Support

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