Kinship care: children living with relatives or friends
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The law states that children should be supported to live within their family where possible.
And when children cannot live with their parents, children’s services departments should seek to place them in the care of a suitable family members.
There are different types of kinship care arrangement. These include:
Private family arrangements
A close relative steps in to raise a relative’s child without the prior involvement of children’s services and without matters being considered by the Family Court.
Someone who is not a close relative of the child and not already an approved foster carer looks after a child for 28 days or more and will then be regarded as private foster carer.
‘Lives with’ child arrangements order
Under this court order the child will live with the kinship carer named in the order and the carer will share parental responsibility with the parents.
Kinship foster care
Sometimes a kinship care arrangement involves a child becoming looked after by children’s services. But with the child living with a relative or friend who becomes a foster carer for them. This might be under a care order, or under a voluntary arrangement. The carer is known as a kinship foster carer.
Adoption is unusual in kinship care arrangements because it changes the legal relationship with the child’s parents. They legally cease to be the child’s parents.
The type of arrangement affects the child and the carer’s right to practical and financial support and the amount provided.
It also affects who can make decisions about the child. To find out more about kinship care and about these different types of kinship care arrangement go to our Kinship carers page.