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Expectations of support for non-parental family carers of children

Latest opinion polling research conducted online by Survation on behalf Grandparents Plus, has revealed that most people agree that they should be entitled to financial support, access to counselling, and time off work if they had to provide full-time care for a child in their family because the parents were unable to; only a minority of people are aware that these levels of support are not currently available.

Furthermore, nearly two-fifths of people questioned who knew a child in their family who was not their own believed they would be considered as a carer before the idea of them being place in foster care or adoption.

These findings reveal a lack of awareness regarding what services are and are not available to individuals who find themselves carers of a family member’s children.
Key findings:

  • 66% of parents agree that if parents do not want to use all of their paid parental leave themselves, it should be possible for them to share the leave with a grandparent helping with childcare.
  • Of the 49% of people questioned who had a young child in their family who was known to them but not their child:
    • Four in five (80%) agree they should be entitled to be assessed for financial support from their local authority. 34% think this is available currently, 19% believe that it is not, and 47% don’t know.
    • A large majority (83%) agree they should have access to services such as counselling for them or for the child. 36% believe this is currently available, 18% believe it is not and 46% do not know.
    • Almost three quarters (73%) agree they should be entitled to a period of time off work without having to give up their job. 22% believe this is currently available, 35% believe it is not and 44% don’t know.
    • Almost 9 in 10 (88%) agree they should be considered first as a carer for the child instead of them being placed into foster care or adopted. 39% believe this is currently available, 18% believe it is not and 43% don’t know.


Survation interviewed 1,007 British adults online aged 18+ between 24 to 25 March 2015. Full data tables can be found here.

To find out more about Survation’s services, and how you can conduct an online opinion poll for your research needs, please visit our services page.

Emma McNulty

Emma McNulty

Project Manager

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