What is kinship care?

All about Kinship Care, why people are looked after by 'kin' and where you can get more information and help.

What is kinship care?

What is kinship care?: 

Kinship care if when a child is placed in the care of family or friends because they are unable to remain under the care of their parents.

How do young people end up in kinship care?: 

There are many reasons why young people may end up in kinship care. These include:

  • The loss or death of one or both parents, where no one else is able to look after the young person.
  • The young person is seen as being at risk if they stay with their parents, for example if the parent is using drugs or alcohol.
  • A family crisis such as a parent being in hospital and no-one else can look after the young person.
  • The young person requests care as a result of feeling unsupported or badly treated at home.
  • The young person is subject to legal processes under Youth Justice and Police and Criminal Justice Act procedures.

Kinship carers are defined under the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 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.

Kinship care and young people: 

All young people have the right to have a say and be asked about what happens to them. They also have the right to live in a safe environment and have access to education, including additional support if they need it. The local authority cannot place a young person with a kinship carer unless they are satisfied that:

  • The placement is in the best interests of the young person and the kinship carer.
  • The kinship carer is a suitable person to care for a child.
  • They have taken all available information into account.

More help and information: 

If you want to talk confidentially, call Childline 0800 1111 or visit their website. There is also a Kinship Care Helpline which you can call on 0808 800 0006. 

For more information, The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 sets out the guidelines to ensure that the best interests of young people in care are met.

You also get more information on Kinship Care visit Citizen Advice's Advice Guide website.

Getting it Right for Every Child - you can get more information about how else your happiness and wellbeing can be supported at the GIRFEC website