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Kinship care

When a child or young person cannot live with their birth parents, the preferred option is for them to live within their wider family and community circle. In its broadest sense this is known as kinship care. Through kinship care, children can experience less disruption in their life, they do better in education, have a stronger sense of identity and more meaningful family time with parents and other family members. 

Children and young people can live with kinship carers under the following arrangements:

  • Looked after children or young people who have been placed with kinship carers by the local authority and are subject to a legal order which means they must stay there.
  • Children who live with a kinship carer but there is no legal order which says they must stay there although the person who has parental rights and responsibilities has agreed to this or the kinship carer has gained a Kinship Care Order (Residence) under Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Becoming a kinship carer

Children and young people can be placed in kinship arrangements at short notice, and this can be done either because of a family arrangement or through the involvement of social work.  Either way you will be asked if you are prepared to offer the child or young person a home. Sometimes these arrangements are short or longer term therefore it is important that you consider all options and consider the others who live with you.

When children and young people are placed by the social work team there will be meetings involving you which decide where they are to live longer term. You will be allocated a support worker and will receive financial support. Sometimes children and young people are initially placed within foster care arrangements, and you might wish to consider becoming their carer. In these instances, an assessment will be undertaken and you will be approved at a panel before the child or young person is placed with you.

If the child or young person is placed through a family arrangement we can continue to offer you practical and financial support prior to this an assessment will be undertaken.

What is involved in the assessment?

When you are caring for looked after children and young people, the local authority has a legal responsibility and duty to assess the suitability of kinship carers. This assessment is ongoing from the point of your initial contact with the professionals and will consider your involvement in the child's life from birth. The kinship assessment can take up to 12 weeks. Each assessment will explore the strengths and vulnerabilities and support needs of the kinship carer/s and family and will then be presented to a panel for approval.

  • A kinship worker will be allocated to undertake the assessment and organise a series of meetings with the kinship carers. This will build a profile of the adult and conversations will involve sharing personal information.
  • Building up a clear understanding of the kinship carer's role in the child's life and their ability to meet their day-today and longer-term needs if needed.
  • Determining the kinship carer's personal support network.
  • Exploring relationships and lifestyle of people living in the same house as the child.
  • Statutory checks such as health and criminal records.

For children and young people who are not looked after but who are living with kinship carers an assessment also needs to be undertaken in line with the above but you won't attend a panel.

Financial support

Current kinship weekly care allowances
Age bandWeekly allowance
0-4 years£168.31
5-10 years£195.81
11-15 years£195.81
16 years and over£268.41

If you are a kinship carer for a child or young person who is not looked after then you will be able to claim child-related benefits which are then deducted from the above allowance.

The Scottish Child Payment is a new benefit introduced by the Scottish Government to for families in receipt of reserved benefits. The payment will pay £25 per week per child every four weeks.

We will arrange an appointment with our Welfare Rights Team for you to ensure that you are receiving all the support that you entitled to.

Kinship support

We are committed to supporting our kinship carers to ensure that you can support the children and young people you are caring for.  As well as having a dedicated team our commitment through our Corporate Parenting Plan means that children and young people in kinship care are given similar priority for all council services to that of children and young people in foster care. That means priority for support in education, housing and therapeutic services.

The Kinship Care Team offers support, information and advice to kinship carers, so they are better equipped to meet the needs of the children in their care. We run a monthly carers group and we are happy to discuss all aspects of being a kinship carer including:

  • The role and identity of a kinship carer.
  • Employment and financial concerns.
  • Difficult behaviours.
  • Housing issues.
  • Health concerns and isolation.

If you have any questions regarding kinship care please contact the Family Based Care Team Duty Line on 01738 477806 or email ecsfpduty@pkc.gov.uk 

Further advice on kinship care

  • The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland produce very useful and easy to read information on kinship care and benefits/tax credits. Read the kinship care and benefits - the essentials page of their website.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau can offer independent legal and financial advice and have a dedicate kinship care in Scotland page on their website.
  • Parent Line Scotland helpline is also available to kinship carers for advice on 0800 028 2233.

Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland (KCASS)

KCASS provides free, confidential and impartial advice to:

  • kinship families
  • professionals working with kinship families.

Their website includes financial guidance, details of local support groups and an explanation of the legal language used around kinship care, and what it means for you. You can also find a range of downloadable factsheets and podcasts to support both new and experienced kinship carers, as well as details of training workshops for parenting children with trauma and supporting children at school.

As well as visiting the website you can also contact KCASS via their free advice line on 0808 800 0006 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 2.30pm) or email advice@kinshipscot.org.

Last modified on 31 January 2024

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