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What is kinship care?

Kinship care means that relatives or friends look after children who cannot live with their parents.

Many kinship carers are part of the extended family of the children they care for, but kinship carers may also include people who are not related to the child but who are still in the child’s social network. For example someone the child knows well and trusts, perhaps, a parent of a school friend, a neighbour or a close family friend.  Sometimes this type of care is called family and friends care or connected persons care.

kinship carers provide a vital role to children who cannot live with their parents, giving them love, support and a sense of belonging. You may have become a carer in a crisis without any notice and may yourself have been deeply affected by the events which have led to the child not being able to remain with their birth parents.

If you are already or if you are thinking about caring for a child who is not your own, you may want more information.

What you can do next

If you have decided to make a longer term commitment to  a child already in your care, you can apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Orders (formally a residence order) or a Special Guardianship Order, this will give you parental responsibility. If you intend to apply for a Special Guardianship Order, you need to write to the local authority giving 12 weeks notice of your intention to apply. This is to allow time for the Local Authority to complete a Special Guardianship assessment that will be used to inform the court’s decision.

If you would like to be considered as a kinship carer for a child where concerns mean the local authority may already have or be or planning to start care proceeding, you can contact the child’s social worker or the local authority directly. Children's Services telephone: 01905 822666