When a child or young person cannot live with, or remain with, or return to the care of their birth parents, the preferred option is for them to live within their wider family and community circle. In its broadest sense this is known as Kinship Care.
Kinship Care includes children who are looked after and placed in a formal kinship arrangement by the local authority. Local authorities have the power to pay an allowance to kinship carers of looked after children living in kinship care.
Kinship Care also includes non-looked after children who live in an informal kinship arrangement under a Section 11 Order or through private arrangements made by extended family.
In 2015, the Scottish Government requested formal Kinship Carers and some informal Kinship Carers be paid in parity with foster care allowances (minus child related benefits).
The current kinship weekly care allowances are:
|Age Bands||Weekly Allowance|
From August 2016, there are now duties placed upon the local authorities under Part 13 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to further support carers who have or are applying for a Kinship Care Order and children and young people who are subject to Kinship Care Orders. The guidance outlines the support for kinship carers and assistance that may be provided and this includes:
- the provision of advice and information for kinship carers
- the provision of advice and information for eligible children
- the provision of a financial allowance
- assistance with the financial cost of an order
Where carers are already receiving an allowance from South Lanarkshire Council in relation to kinship care, social work staff will contact them to make arrangements to ensure their entitlement to payments is maximised. Where South Lanarkshire Council has been made aware that carers have a Section 11 Order and that these children were previously looked after, arrangements will be made by locality social work staff to ensure these carers are receiving their full entitlement in relation to kinship payments.
If you are caring for a child and are seeking kinship assistance please contact the duty worker in one of our locality offices in Cambuslang, East Kilbride, Hamilton North/Hamilton South and Clydesdale. The phone number is 0303 123 1008.
Kinship carers should also get independent legal and financial advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau. For more information see Citizens Advice Bureau - Kinship Care in Scotland.
If you are a kinship carer you can also call the ParentLine Scotland helpline for advice on 0800 028 2233.
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland have produced a very useful easy to read up to date factsheet on kinship care and benefits/tax credits which you might find useful.