Kinship Care

What is Kinship Care? Kinship care is where a relative or friend takes on the care of a child/young person when their parents cannot look after them. There are many children who live with friends or family without the involvement of statutory services. These carers are often referred to as informal kinship carers, and the children are not Looked After. Formal kinship care is when a child/young person is looked after by the local authority, and the child is placed in the care of relatives or friends by the local authority.    

Why Kinship Care? Kinship care families are widely unsupported across the country receiving little support, financially or practically which means many families are struggling to care and support these young children who typically experience multiple disadvantages and are likely to have experienced some form of abuse or neglect. Yet despite unique challenges, research demonstrates positive outcomes for children in kinship care.    

Key points from studies* of kinship care: Kinship carers want more training to cope with children’s challenging behaviours. The majority receive little or no practical support managing complex family situations and ensuring positive child development. Yet kinship carers make huge personal sacrifices around employment, social interactions, family and personal relationships.       

* Study from ‘Relative Support – A Review of Kinship Care in Scotland’ – Mentor UK 

** Study by ‘Grandparents Parenting again and Kinship Carers’ entitled ‘Stories from Young people in Kinship Care in Midlothian’