ADULTS who bring up the children of friends or relatives after a death or crisis suffer severe cash hardships, says a new report.
It has prompted further calls for family and friends acting as foster carers to be paid the same rate by councils as professional "stranger" carers - who get more.
And Kirklees now seems set to agree to this and pay family and friend carers more.
Nigel Priestley, senior partner at Huddersfield solicitors Ridley and Hall, has recently issued a third judicial review for a grandmother who was not being paid the correct money to look after her grandchild.
In 2001, a verdict known as The Manchester Judgement said family foster carers should get the same money as professionals.
Mr Priestley said: "These people are stepping into the breach and they are not getting the financial support they need."
He added that allowances paid by Kirklees were well below those recommended by the campaigning charity, the Fostering Network.
An estimated 300,000 children live with grandparents, relatives or family friends, says the report by the Family Rights Group.
But because some are brought up under unofficial arrangements and are often taken on in an emergency, the carers often struggle to make ends meet.
The report, paid for by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said more than a third of grandparents had given up work to care for a child.
Last month Kirklees Council's Cabinet debated an increase in benefit payments for friends and relatives acting as foster carers.
A council spokes- woman said: "An interim report has gone to the Cabinet to bring allowances for relatives and friends to the same level as other foster carers.
"A further report will be presented to Cabinet - probably in October - revising allowances for all foster carers," she added.