© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Limited research has been conducted in relation to social work and the impact upon kinship carers' own children in a UK context. This paper argues that pressure from government policy imperatives and organizational priorities creates tension and conflict in the professional self in the context of kinship care and with kinship carers' own children. It will examine the professional self through social work narratives utilising the two concepts economy of performance and ecology of practice. This paper focuses upon data from four focus groups and 16 semi-structured interviews carried out with 29 social workers within one local authority in the north of England. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Only data related to the professional self are examined. The discussion explores how social workers attempted to navigate the tension in their everyday practice. It illuminates the impact upon their performance in kinship care and implications for practice with carers' own children. The conclusion reveals the need for social workers to create a space within which kinship carers' own children's voices are heard.