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“They finally see me, they trust me, my brother’s coming home” Recognising the motivations and role of siblings who become kinship carers

Stabler, Lorna 2024. “They finally see me, they trust me, my brother’s coming home” Recognising the motivations and role of siblings who become kinship carers. Societies 14 (2) , 24. 10.3390/soc14020024

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Despite a widespread focus on grandparents, a large proportion of kinship care in the UK is provided by older siblings. What drives older siblings to become kinship carers, and how this might differ from other kinship carers, is not well represented in academic literature. In this study, narrative interviews were carried out with thirteen adults across England, Scotland, and Wales who had experience being the main carer for their younger sibling(s) when their parents could not care for them sufficiently. The narrative method elicited holistic accounts of participants experiences of being a sibling carer, and the analysis generated three groups of narrative accounts highlighting how and why some sibling kinship care arrangements come about—with siblings wanting to bring their younger siblings back into their family; siblings trying to keep their younger siblings in their family; or older siblings stepping in to fill a gap in parenting at home. The paper draws on the narrative accounts of participants to build the groups, presenting an illustrative narrative account to represent each group. Importantly, these accounts demonstrate how becoming a kinship carer as an older sibling may, or may not, be recognised or fit into wider narratives of what becoming a kinship carer looks like. It is hoped that these accounts will prompt practitioners and policymakers to look more closely at the role of siblings when considering who is and who should be involved in deciding how to support children to remain within their family network.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: MDPI
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 March 2024
Date of Acceptance: 9 February 2024
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2024 11:45

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