Transforming support for kinship carers: developing policy and practice in Australia and the UK

Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 10.55 am – 12.35 pm
Location: Gonski Room (ground floor)
Speaker(s): Lucy Peake, Meredith Kiraly

The use of kinship care in statutory child protection is growing year on year, with kinship care in Australia now providing more statutory placements than foster care. Many more kinship care arrangements are made informally within families. While the benefits for children are well-established, there are still many gaps in the kinship knowledge base and in support available, and a large proportion of children in informal care grow up in poverty. There is little recognition of the needs of kinship care families nationally, and at State/Territory level children in formal kinship care are yet to be accorded the same rights and support as in foster care. There is also insufficient recognition of the unique nature of Indigenous kinship care, and too many Indigenous children are still in non-Indigenous care. A 2018 Australian survey found that while kinship care policy and services are developing, there is still much to be learnt from the United Kingdom where both research and practice development have to date received greater resourcing. This presentation of outstanding issues, new initiatives and promising practices in Australia and the UK will be made by an eminent visiting British authority on kinship care Dr Lucy Peake and an Australian kinship care authority, Dr Meredith Kiraly. It will relate to many of the conference themes. Discussion of the large UK Grandparents Plus study Growing Up in Kinship Care (2017) that explored outcomes for young people from their own perspective will be of particular interest. This special workshop session will allow for in-depth discussion of issues and opportunities in family based care with visiting expert Dr Peake as well as consideration of the local context by local kinship care authority Dr Kiraly.

Lucy Peake (Presenter), Grandparents Plus
Dr Lucy Peake has been CEO of Grandparents Plus, a kinship care charity in the UK since 2015. The charity is at the forefront of policy and practice developments in kinship care. It is leading the development of programmes for kinship carers and their families in the UK and produces regular surveys and research, including Growing Up in Kinship Care: Experiences and Outcomes in Young Adulthood (2017), led by Professor Elaine Farmer (University of Bristol). Lucy previously held senior roles at the UK's leading fostering charity The Fostering Network. She has a PhD in Politics from the University of Southampton.

Meredith Kiraly (Presenter), University of Melbourne
Dr Meredith Kiraly is a psychologist with over thirty years’ experience specialising in out of home care. She is a Research Fellow in the Social Work Department at the University of Melbourne where she has been researching kinship care since 2009 and has published widely including Kiraly M. Nonfamilial kinship carers — Who are they and what support do they need to nurture children? Child & Family Social Work. 2018;1–9; Kiraly, M. Fairy godparents and fake kin: Exploring non familial kinship care (‘kith care’); Diversity in kinship care Research Series Report 1: Non-familial kinship care. 2018, Melbourne, University of Melbourne.