What is Kinship Care?
Kinship Care is an arrangement where a child or young person who cannot be cared for by their parent(s) goes to live with a relative or a family friend. Kinship care includes children who may be:
- Living in an informal arrangement made by their parents
- ‘Looked after’ by the Local Authority and placed with kinship foster carers
- On a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order
Sometimes the assistance of a family member or friend will deter the Local Authority from issuing care proceedings. Relatives and close family friends can assist by offering to care for children in the short, medium and long-term. They are also able to assist by offering to facilitate and supervise contact between children and their parents.
What are the benefits of Kinship Care?
There are clear benefits to children if they’re kept within their family network or go to live with a close family friend. Research has shown that children in kinship care benefit from increased placement stability compared to children in Local Authority care, and are able to maintain family relationships.
Are Kinship Carers provided with financial support?
Kinship carers that have a prevented a child from going into care are entitled to financial support, depending on their Local Authority’s policy.
Every family member may be entitled to the same financial support as a kinship foster carer. Unfortunately, however, in some instances this support is not initially given (see example below).
In 2011, a kinship carer agreed to look after their grandchild. The child’s mother had mental health and drug misuse problems.
The kinship carer was the child’s grandmother and she looked after the child to the best of her abilities despite struggling financially. She repeatedly raised concerns about her difficult financial situation, and this continued for four years before she was finally given the financial support that she was always entitled to. She now receives the same financial assistance as a kinship foster carer and £500 for the financial frustration suffered.
You need to make sure that you are getting all of the financial support that you are entitled to from the minute you become a kinship carer. This is essential to ensure the best possible position for yourself and for the child involved.