Kinship care

Thousands of people across the country care for children because their natural (birth) parents are unable to do so. When a child can't be looked after by a parent, they should be brought up by their own families and in their own communities where possible. The Scottish Government state that:

it is the right of every child to have their family and friends explored as potential carers if they need to leave the care of their parents.

Getting it right for every child in kinship and foster care, Scottish Government (2007)

Our policy is to always try to support a child to be cared for within their immediate family, if possible.

  • A private care arrangement relates to instances when a family independently arrange (without Local Authority involvement) for a child to be looked after by relatives or friends
  • Kinship care refers when the Local Authority arrange for a child to be placed with extended family members or someone who has a pre-existing relationship, such as relatives or a family friend

Responsibilities

Our responsibilities

As a corporate parent, the Local Authority is responsible for ensuring that children are cared for safely.  Assessing and reviewing potential carers and their home is part of the process.

Social Workers have the responsibility to see children regularly and to get their views about their carer and their future plans.

A child's Social Worker also supports the carer to provide the highest quality of care that they are able to.  This may involve helping to arrange financial and/or practical support, advice and guidance.

A child's Social Worker is responsible for making sure that the child's needs are met and this is written down in a care plan. This might involve:

  • arranging contact between children and their parent(s) and/or siblings
  • progressing any legal matters
  • working with other agencies such as Health and Education and
  • working in partnership with the carer to secure the best outcomes for the child

Responsibilities of a kinship carer

Providing kinship care requires the carer to have the same main responsibility as any parent, specifically to provide a safe and stable home environment which meets the child's individual needs.

Responsibilities include ensuring the child attends nursery or school and receives appropriate medical and dental treatment.  When a child is living with you and you are a Kinship carer any other responsibilities will be listed in the child's individual care plan.

Applying to become a kinship carer

We would suggest that you contact the Intake team on telephone 01786 471177 to arrange a meeting to discuss the process of becoming a Kinship carer.

Assessment

Before placing a child with an extended family member or close friend, we would have to assess if this arrangement is suitable and meets the needs of the child.

This assessment would involve:

  • visiting the home to interview the proposed carer and to ensure the home is suitable for the child's needs
  • undertake Disclosure Scotland checks on every adult in the caring household
  • completing checks of social care database and the health records of all potential carers
  • a financial assessment will also be carried out to ensure the family are receiving all entitlements, and what effect any allowance which the Council will pay will have on the family's income

Placements are reviewed regularly to make sure they continue to meet the child's needs.

Kinship Allowance

Kinship Carers are entitled to a Kinship Care Allowance, providing that:

  • the child or children have been placed with carers by the Local Authority
  • Police checks, health checks and disclosure do not show any reason why the placement may not be suitable and
  • an assessment, including a financial assessment, have confirmed that the placement is suitable and that carers need financial support in order to continue looking after the child

Support for Kinship care children and carers

Girl in park

Supplementing the support which we offer Kinship care children and carers, the National Kinship Care Service, run by Children 1st and funded by the Scottish Government, can provide free, confidential information, advice and support.  Their helpline is run by Parent Line Scotland.  To access their helpline, please:

Contact us

If you require any more information about Kinship Care, please contact:

Children's Intake team
Municipal buildings
8-10 Corn Exchange Road
Stirling
FK8 2HU
Tel: 01786 471177