Tens of thousands of kinship carers – adults who volunteer to bring up child relatives when parents are unable to do so – risk severe poverty, debt and losing their home as a result of welfare cuts, experts have warned.
Although kinship carers save the state billions of pounds each year in care costs and make significant personal sacrifices – an estimated two-thirds of kinship carers give up work to look after child relatives – many are threatened by tax credit cuts and the benefit cap.
The charity Family Rights Group (FRG) said government plans to limit child tax credits to two children from 2017 will have a “disastrous impact” on the finances of thousands of kinship carers who look after at least three children, and will deter many potential carers from taking on the role.
Cathy Ashley, chief executive of FRG, said: “The tax credit and welfare reforms are potentially disastrous for kinship carer households and will deter many potential kinship carers from coming forward, resulting in more children ending up in the care system, at significant cost to the public purse.”
She added that kinship carers who have their own children living with them would in some cases be forced by the benefit cap to move home to another area, away from their own children’s school and support network.
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