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Kinship carer

This is a relative, family friend or other connected person who is looking after a child who cannot live with their parents. Another name for a kinship carer is a ‘family and friends carer’.

If a social worker has been involved in arranging for the child to live with the kinship carer, the child is likely to be a looked after child. If social workers haven’t been involved then it is likely to be a private arrangement.

When a child cannot live with their parents (or anyone else who has parental responsibility), children’s services explore the child’s family and friends network. They must determine whether there is anyone else who can provide them with safe and appropriate care.

Family and friends can apply for a child arrangements order. This is a court order to say the child will live with them. Or they might apply for a special guardianship order to formalise the child’s placement with them.

The type of support that is available to kinship carers will vary according to the type of arrangement.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Kinship carers

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