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Glasgow City Council

Kinship Care

What is kinship care?

Kinship care is when a child is formally 'looked after' in terms of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 by their extended family or close friends, if they cannot remain with their birth parents. Under the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009, Kinship Carers are defined as 'a person who is related to the child (through blood, marriage or civil partnership)' or 'a person with whom the child has a pre-existing relationship'.

A 'looked after' child / young person is one who is subject to a supervision order under Section 83 of the Children Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 or a child/young person who was formally placed under Section 25, Children (Scotland) Act 1995 in the care of a kinship carer by Social Work Services.

Kinship care also includes non looked after children, who live in an informal kinship care arrangement. These children may be subject to a Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 or may be living in a completely private arrangement with extended family, with no local authority involvement at all.

 

What type of support should I expect as a kinship carer?

Where Social Work Service has been involved in placing a child with a Kinship Carer, a full assessment of both the carer and the child's needs will be undertaken and support required identified. Ongoing support will be provided form the child's allocated worker or from a third sector organisation. The level of support will depend on the assessed need.

Support via the Carers Act

As of 1st April, kinship carers were given rights to access support under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 where they meet the definition of a carer, even if they are in receipt of kinship care allowance.

Under the Carers Act, a kinship carer would be eligible for support if:

  • they are still regularly supporting the parent of a grandchild due to addiction, disability or mental health
  • the child they are supporting could have mental health issues or disabilities. 

The child who is in kinship care could meet the definition of a young carer if:

  • The kinship carer has their own long term health conditions.

Support available for Kinship Carers

There are also a number or organisations who can provide support:

  • Family Addiction Support Service (FASS) has 22 affiliated support groups throughout Glasgow which include Kinship, Bereavement & Family Support Groups. Seven of these groups are Kinship Support Groups. FASS offers a variety of free supports including: Family Support, Kinship & Family Support is available at various locations throughout Glasgow and includes: Hypnotherapy, Holistic Therapy, Family Mediation, Respite Breaks, Support Groups. FASS can be contacted at 123 West Street, Glasgow, G5 8BA phone: 0141 420 2050 
     
  • Parents @ Sandyford is an NHSGG&C website for parents and carers. It has information, film clips and top tips to help you talk with children about growing up, puberty, relationships and sexual health. You can also phone them on 0141 211 8130
     
  • Kinship Care Service is a confidential service,  provided by the Citizens Advice Scotland, and can offer advice and information about the kinds of issues that many kinship carers face, including clarifying the legal status of the arrangement in which you are looking after a child, and explaining your responsibilities as well as your rights and entitlement to financial and other support and can also assist with emotional and social support
     
  • Children 1st offers services that help kinship families access the local services they need. They also provide emotional support, training and awareness sessions on a range of issues, including attachment and managing relationships within the family. Their National Kinship Care Service is a comprehensive and confidential telephone support service specifically for kinship carers, open 365 days a year, and can be contacted on 0800 028 2233
     
  • Citizens Advice Scotland runs a confidential Kinship Care Advice and Information Service for kinship carers, providing assistance with legal and financial matters (including benefits advice). Their helpline, open all year round, can be contacted on 0808 800 0006
     
  • Mentor UK have published a Kinship Care Guide, which contains clear and concise information on kinship care issues and provides contact details of services which meet the needs of kinship carers and the children and young people living in their care.
     
  • Kinship Service - Delivered Glasgow City Wide
    Respite Overnight Care / Respite Sitting / Family Support / Out of School Care during school holidays
    Kinship Children 8 to 14 years after school hours - Group work, Activities plus overnight stay weekend at Wiston Lodge
    Psychotherapy Intervention Project and Counselling Services, are all available to Kinship carers
    Contact Sandra Anderson 0141 573 2900 or email sandra@geezabreak.org.uk

There are also extensive support services for kinship carers across Glasgow which is an area of continual growth.  Kinship support groups have a strong presence in Glasgow and are well placed to provide emotional support to kinship carers and offer assistance with sign posting to local services. Many third sector organisations play a vital role in supporting kinship carers across the whole of Glasgow. We are currently working on a directory of kinship support which will we will make available.

 

What financial assistance is available and am I entitled to kinship care allowance?

Kinship allowances are available to ;

  • all formal kinship carers where the child has a looked after status; and
  • some informal kinship carers, where the child is not a looked after child but is subject to a Section 11 Order (to be known as a Kinship Care Order), and is or was
    • previously looked after;
    • placed with involvement from the local authority; or
    • at risk of becoming looked after.  (At risk of becoming looked after will be determined through multi agency assessment adopting GIRFEC Wellbeing Indicators)

 

How are kinship allowances calculated?

Kinship Carers will not always receive the payment however the calculation process applied is the same in all cases.

Kinship care Payments are made weekly and are determined by the age of the child. There are four age bands:

  • 0 - 4 years: £137.18
     
  • 5 - 10 years: £156.30
     
  • 11 - 15 years: £194.54
     
  • Over 16 years: £236.60,  the allowance increases when a child moves into a higher age band.

Kinship care Payments are based on the fostering allowances paid to Foster Carers.

Kinship Carers also qualify for Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit but Foster Carers do not. As such the Kinship Care Allowance is calculated by deducting the Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit entitlement from the corresponding Fostering Allowance.

Will kinship allowance remain in place if I secure a Kinship Care Order?

Yes.

If it is decided that I am not entitled to a kinship allowance can I appeal?

Yes, You may appeal against any decision. This can be done by writing to: Assistant Chief Officer of Social Care Services, Commonwealth House, 32 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1LH, within 28 days of the decision.

When do kinship payments stop?

Kinship payments can stop when a number of things happen;

1.    The placement with the carer ends and the child is no longer looked after

2.    The young person leaves school and entitlement to child benefit comes to an end

3.    The young person turns 16 years and enters employment

4.    The young person enters into further education

Note that studying non advanced education similar to schooling at a college may allow the Kinship payment to continue.

An eligible young person, age 16, who was subject to a Section 11 Order immediately before they turned 16, can apply for an allowance to be paid to them which can be paid where the local authority deem it appropriate to do so.

Will kinship carers also get the fee element that foster carers receive?

No. The financial commitment relates to the provision of an allowance for a child equivalent to that of a child placed with a foster carer. Foster carers need to be recruited and retained, therefore the fee element safeguards this service along with acknowledging their experience and skill level.

What is a Kinship Care Order? 

A Kinship Care Order secures the kinship placement through a legal order, removes the child from the children's hearing system (if subject to supervision requirement) and reduces the need for statutory social work intervention as the child no longer has looked after and accommodated status.

One of the main advantages of obtaining a Kinship Care Order is achieving a more stable home environment for a child. Depending on the section of the 1995 Act that the order is made, it will set out conditions of residence for the child and may also transfer parental responsibilities and rights. This allows a Kinship Carer to make a range of decisions that any reasonable parent can take in relation to a child's life. If parental rights are transferred, a Kinship Carer can, for example, provide consent for the child to undertake medical procedures (if they are too young to give consent themselves), obtain a passport and be responsible for the child's property (for example financial assets / inheritance)

Regardless of the status of the kinship placement (formal or informal) any carer can apply for a kinship order.

Under section 72 (1) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, a Kinship Care Order means:

a)
 
an order under Section 11 (1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 gives to a qualifying person the right mentioned in section 2 (1) (a) of that Act in relation to a child
b)a residence order which has the effect that a child is to live with , or live predominantly with, a qualifying person, or
c)  an order under Section 11 (1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 appointing a qualifying person as a guardian of a child

In securing a Section 11 Kinship Care Order, the child will no longer be entitled to apply for Section 29 leaving care financial assistance.

From April 2016, an order under Section 11 (1) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 as specified in section 72 (1)(a) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act is categorised as a kinship order. A Kinship Care Order will decree the right of the applicant to have the child living with them or otherwise to regulate the child's residence

How long does a Kinship Care Order last?

Kinship Care Orders continue until the child reaches 16, unless there is a new court action. In exceptional circumstances, a Section 11 order can continue beyond the age of sixteen. In the majority of cases, a child has sufficient capacity to decide residence by the age of sixteen.

How do I obtain a Kinship Care Order and what are the legal costs?

Anyone can approach their solicitor and request a Kinship Care Order however this is best supported by a social worker if one is involved.

The costs associated with a Kinship Care Order will vary dependent upon the solicitors representing the carer however expect to pay something between £1,500 - £3,000 for those cases that are not contested and considerably more where the case is being contested.

Am I entitled to financial assistance for legal costs of a kinship order?

This depends on the status of the placement. For those placements which meet the eligibility criteria, Glasgow will contribute up to £500 towards the legal costs providing the carer has exhausted options available through Scottish Legal Aid Board. Entitlement to legal aid is based on a household income of less that £26,000.

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