“Kinship care is unique, it is not foster care. At the same time it is more
than family support.” Jane Aldgate, “Looking after the family” Report 2006.
All children need to be brought up in a loving and stable home where their needs
for care, love and support can be met.
The assessment process should help kinship carers to feel more involved and consulted
and able to identify the supports they believe they need to look after the child
safely and in a way that promotes the child’s best interests.
In addition, the wider family should be included, where appropriate, in this process
through Family Meetings, so that the child has that community of support round them
and different members of the family can contribute to the support and care of the
child and, of course, the carer.
Assessment of kinship carers
A Social Worker will be allocated to carry out an assessment. The Social Worker
will explain to the carers the content of the work they will do together and be
transparent about the areas they will discuss. The timescale for the work should
also be discussed.
In the interim period, pending Kinship assessment being completed and approved,
and whilst a child is placed with another family member or friend, financial support
can be made from the Carers in Community Budget and the Child’s Social Worker will
complete a funding form for this.
The assessment and approval of a kinship care arrangement is only the start of a
journey for the child and for the kinship carers. Kinship carers will need consistent
support and opportunities to develop new skills which will help them to meet the
identified needs of the child as they grow up.
A range of supports need to be available to the wider family and kinship carers,
in particular to meet the needs of the child to grow into a happy, healthy, learning,
achieving, confident and responsible individual
Advice and guidance
All local authorities in Scotland have agreed with the Scottish Government to set
up a scheme to make payments to kinship carers of ‘looked after’ children.
Definition of looked after children
- A child on a supervision requirement made by a Children’s Hearing under section
70 of the 1995 Act
- A child accommodated by the Local Authority under Section 25 of the 1995 Act
- An order made, authorisation or warrant granted by virtue of Chapter 2, 3, or 4
of Part II of the 1995 Act
- A placement made by a local authority which has taken parental responsibility under
Section 86 of the 1995 Act or Permanence Order under section of the Adoption and
Children (Scotland) Act 2007
The safety and needs of the child in any assessment of family or friends as carers
must be paramount and it is recognised the importance and challenges of a kinship
carer. Independent advice, support and practical financial support are available
to help and assist kinship carers.
The rights and responsibilities of kinship carers can be complicated. Getting advice
is important so you know about your options and know if you are getting the practical
and financial support that you are entitled to as it may be that carers will lose
other benefits by taking up Kinship payments
You can get advice from the Kinship Carers support line provided by Citizen’s Advice
Scotland, who offer advice on a variety of matters. Children 1st also offer a new
service for training and support to all kinship carers.