top of page

Professional Insights

What some of our professionals say

Kinship Carers UK is an incredible organisation working tirelessly to ensure that kinship carers are supported, get access to the information they need and are connected with other people who are in a similar situation.

They might be a small charity but they punch above their weight and the impact they are having on the people they support is immeasurable.

- Jude Habib
Director at Sound Delivery Media

The launch of the website ’Kinship Carers U.K.’ is a major contribution to further developments in kinship care. Enza Smith brings a range of direct experiences and insights into the world of children cared for by family members.  For all too long, the focus on care for children has focussed on care by strangers – adoption and foster care.  While this cannot be underestimated for its significance and the contribution that these carers make, the huge presence of kinship care is too often ignored.


The launch of the web site is a major opportunity to correct this in recognising the essence of kinship and I am delighted to offer a warm welcome.

- John Simmonds, OBE
Director of Policy, Research and Development at Coram BAAF

It has been a pleasure to work with Kinship Carers UK. They are welcoming and interested in gaining as much knowledge as possible. I hope we can continue to share our experience in the future.

- Suzanne Lester
Play & Filial Therapist (BAPT) at

Ridley & Hall have always worked very closely with Kinship Carers UK over the years. Kinship Carers UK does fantastic work with families across the country and I have certainly seen the benefits provided to these families after working with the charity. I do not hesitate in pointing my clients in the direction of Kinship Carers UK if they require any emotional support.

- Helen Moody
Solicitor, Ridley & Hall Solicitors

I turned to Kinship Carers UK in 2014 when pre-birth concerns were raised about my grandchild, and I never left. Kinship Carers UK has supported me through 5 sets of court proceedings lasting over 7 years. They were the light through some very dark days and nights. Invaluable, incredible support. I cannot fault them.

Kinship Carers kept me sane and laughing when the behaviour of social workers threatened to tip me into despair.

- Tina
Kinship Carer

It is always a pleasure to work with Kinship Carers UK and to refer clients to them. They provide incredible support to kinship carers who all too often find themselves feeling alone and unsupported. This is an under-resourced area and the volunteers at Kinship Carers UK are doing tremendous work to try and bridge the gap.

- Luke Boxall
Solicitor, Waldrons Solicitors

I have worked voluntarily with KCUK on and off for almost six years. Working closely with a small group to storyboard speeches to be given to local MPs and solicitors to raise the profile of KInship Care. The work they do is invaluable but sadly with little funding means they can't have a dedicated office manager to apply for desperately needed funding to support the outstanding work they tirelessly undertake to help children and their kinship families.

- Joanne Wareham
Bid Manager
Aerospace and Defence Organisation

Professionals Contact List

Due to GDPR regulations, we cannot publish a contact list.

To receive contact details for our professionals, please contact us through the form.

Funding Support

We have a list of funding support that can be accessed here.

  • What is kinship care?
    When a child cannot live with parents for whatever reason and moves in with a family member such as a relative such as sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or a close family friend known to the child. These adults are often referred to as ‘Kinship Carer.’
  • What is kinship care and who are kinship carers?
    Kinship care is when a child lives full-time, or most of the time, with a relative or friend who isn’t their parent, usually because their parents aren’t able to care for them for some reason. That relative or friend is called a ‘kinship carer’; and it’s estimated that around half of kinship carers are grandparents, however many other relatives including older siblings; aunts uncles; as well as family friends and neighbours, can also be kinship carers. There are different types of kinship care; and if you’re a kinship carer, you might find that as circumstances change the type of kinship carer you are changes too. Kinship care includes children who may be: Living in an informal arrangement made by their parents ‘Looked after’ by the local authority and placed with kinship foster carers (in care) On a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order. Kinship carers are also often referred to as ‘family and friends’ carers’ or ‘connected people’ by Local Authorities and in official documents.
  • What support is available to kinship carers?
    The support available to kinship carers from local authorities and statutory services varies enormously. The best place to start would be to reach out to us here and join a support group to get more information regarding your personal circumstances.
  • Is kinship care better for children?
    There are clear benefits to children if they’re kept within their family network. Research shows that children in kinship care benefit from increased placement stability when compared to children in local authority care and are able to maintain family relationships, if this is in the child’s best interests. Even so, many children who go to live with kinship carers have had a very difficult start in life, and their behaviour is often greatly affected by past experiences.
  • Where can I get support and meet other kinship carers?
    Right here. We offer support groups as a space to familiarise yourself with the kinship care environment and talk through anything you may be going through. Remember, you are not alone!
  • Types of kinship carers: how do I know which legal order is best for the child and me?
    There are 6 types of kinship care however, kinship carers all have a similar role. The main difference are the legal orders. Informal/Private arrangement – this is a private agreement with no social services involvement. Parent(s) ask a responsible adult to look after their child for up to 28 days. If the child is with you for more than 28 days, you must notify the local authority. This becomes a private fostering arrangement. Try to avoid this arrangement as it leaves both the child(ren) and you unsupported in the future both therapeutically and financially. Emergency placement –Temporary approval for family foster carer can last for 16 to 24 weeks. You must request a full fostering assessment, which must be completed t within that time to allow the child to remain with you lawfully. Without this request, it may be deemed as a private arrangement, which as previously, can leave both the children and you unsupported in the future both therapeutically and financially. Child Arrangement Order (CAO)- is a legal order where the court decides either where a child will live or whom a child can spend time with and for how long., or both We’ll be talking about the first kind, which establishes whom the child will live with. A CAO order shares equal responsibility with the parent(s) and hold this until the child reaches 18. The CAO is often included within the documents when an SGO is awarded. Kinship foster carer /Connected Persons Foster Care – this is where you are employed and paid by the local authority to care for the child. You are classed as a mainstream foster carer however you should receive the same payments, if not this is discrimination and should be challenged in writing. Your responsibilities are the same as a mainstream foster carer. It’s important to note the local authority have parental responsibility not the carer. The TSDS book the social worker will ask you to complete is different for connected persons. Special Guardianship Order – is a court order awarded to a guardian until the child is 18, you have overriding parental responsibility above the parents however the parents still hold PR. Support and Financial support is discretionary and usually means-tested, each LA has their own guidelines. Testamentary guardian – A legal guardian is an adult who is appointed through a will, to look after a child after the death of the child’s parent(s) or special guardians. The legal guardian has all the legal rights and responsibilities as that of a parent.
  • The guardian who looks after the child(ren) following the death of a parent.
    They are both caring for a child who is a member of their family. The key difference is the legislation and appropriate Court Order which is behind these two ways of ensuring that a child is cared for in their family. Special Guardianship carers are assessed under the Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 and February 2016. Connected Persons come under the Fostering Regulations and are also called Family and Friends Foster Carers.
  • Who can apply for a Special Guardianship Order?
    A person who has a Child Arrangements Order A person who the child has lived with for three out of the last five years. CHECK THIS A person who has the agreement of the Local Authority erm no contested hearing A person who has the agreement of all the people with parental responsibility for the child. ERM no contested hearing Local Authority foster carer or relative that the child has been living with for at least one year before the application is made. Remember you will need to give 3 months’ notice and so can be applied for at the 9 months marker. Anyone who has the courts permission. They will need to be 18 years old in order to apply for a Special Guardianship Order. If a family member is applying for a Special Guardianship Order because they have a child in their care where there are no previous or current care proceedings in place, the notorious ‘private arrangement ‘will need to make an application through the Courts and notify the Local Authority in writing, again 3 months prior to making the application. that they plan to apply to the Court for a Special Guardianship Order. The Local Authority has an obligation to complete a report for the Court to help it to decide what order to make. However, sometimes this is done by an independent social worker who is not employed by the Local Authority. The Court cannot make an order without this report. You can find all the forms and information they will need to make an application at
  • What does the special guardianship assessment report cover?
    Local Authorities are legally obliged to prepare a report for Court consistent with Special Guardianship Regulations 2005 updated in 2016. If they are unable to, for whatever reason, this should be completed by an independent social worker. The court regulations provide a structure of the key information that is required in the SGO report. Many Local Authorities have their own Special Guardianship report templates and tools to gather this information, Below is a brief overview of the parts covered in the report Part 1 – The Child’s information Part 2 – The Birth Parents Information Part 3- The Wishes and feelings Part 4- The Prospective Carers information Part 5 & 6 – Contains the Support and Statutory requirements Part 7 & 8 – Addresses the key issues of SGO and any other orders that could be made Part 9 – The Recommendation Part 10 – Recommendation regarding contact.
  • What if the SGO assessment report has errors, incorrect or negative can I appeal?"
    If you decide to challenge a negative assessment you should write/email to the Local Authority within seven days and notify them of your intention to challenge the assessment. It would also be advisable to seek legal advice promptly upon receipt of your assessment. An application would then need to be filed with the appropriate Court; confirming that you are seeking to challenge the negative assessment. This application should be accompanied by a short statement addressing the information in the assessment that it is felt has been wrongly recorded or is inaccurate. (We offer support with the process for a fee) This needs to be worded better not sure how much to charge.!!!!
  • What are the rights of Special Guardianship?
    Special Guardians obtain parental responsibility for a child which overrides the parents’ parental responsibility They will be able to make most of the decisions about a child. However, a parent never loses their parental responsibility, but they cannot exercise this over and above the Special Guardian. There are only three main things that a Special Guardian cannot do, they will need the permission of the Court or the parents in order to do the following: They cannot change a child’s name They cannot take a child out of the UK for more than 3 months at any one time. They cannot give consent for the child to be adopted.
  • As a Special Guardian am I entitled to financial support?
    Financial support in the form of a Special Guardianship Allowance is discretionary and means-tested, although you will be able to claim Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit if applicable. Support is more likely to be provided if a child was previously classes as 'looked after' by the local authority. It is very important that you discuss this with the local authority and add this to your SGO Support Plan. Regulation 6 sets out the circumstances in which financial support may be paid to a special guardian or prospective special guardian. These are: (a) where it is necessary to ensure that the special guardian or prospective special guardian can look after the child (b) where the child needs special care which requires a greater expenditure of resources than would otherwise be the case because of illness, disability, emotional or behavioural difficulties or the consequences of past abuse or neglect
  • Do I need to have a legal order?
    Is the child staying with you for more than 28 days? No – no legal order is needed Yes –If a child is placed with you for more than 28 days and may not be going home to parent(s) you will need to notify children services as it is a requirement of the law and possibly obtain the appropriate legal order. There are many reasons why a child may be living with you and depending on the length of stay or reason, you will have to choose a type of legal order that will best suit your specific circumstances.
  • Is the child placed with you via a private arrangement for more than 28 days?
    No – You do not need to apply for a legal order Yes – You are obliged to inform the Local Authority, who will send a social worker to meet you and you will need to apply for a legal order, the Child Arrangements Order is most commonly used here.
  • Do the parents agree and are happy for the child to remain with you on a temporary basis?
    Yes – You will have to obtain a legal order such as a Child Arrangement Order
  • Do I have to pay court costs?
    Yes, there are court costs also but you can share this with parents who names appear of the child’s birth certificate or fund this yourself. You may also be able to claim Legal Aid, dependent upon your disposable income and any savings you hold or you are in receipt of universal credit and rent your property, have limited savings, you will need to speak to a solicitor that applies for legal aid. There is a legal aid calculator
  • Do I pay for the legal order?
    Nos – the actual order comes at the end of the proceedings. you can ask at your local court office, solicitors or call your local children services
  • Is there any financial support for legal costs from the local authority under the regulations?
    This is usually when you are applying for an SGO. Your local authority can contribute to initial legal costs, usually for 2 hours. Regulation 6(2) and paragraph 40, the Special Guardianship Statutory Guidance states this is financial support Local Authorities may contribute if considered appropriate. It is discretionary financial assistance.
  • Do I need to hire a solicitor?
    No, you can apply to the local court for the CAO papers and book a court day direct. Yes, if the order is complicated or you feel you can’t do it on your own. If you want to fix the address of where the child lives, how often the child has contact with parents and any other agreement you wish to be mandated by law.
  • Can the child be taken home to live with parents?
    Yes, if it’s safe to do so (and the judge has agreed this in court order) or you are not coping?
  • Can I disagree?
    Yes, but you may have to go back to court and have a very good reason for not wanting the child to go back to parents
  • What type of order can I chose in a nutshell?
    If the child is with you for a short time you could apply for a Child Arrangement Order this will give you equal Parental Responsibility until the child until the child is 18. This order is helpful if the child is going between homes and is not living with you long term. If the child future is undetermined then you will need to consider different options either Special Guardianship Order of Kinship/Connected Persons family fostering. Next steps: We Strongly Advise You to seek free legal advice. Some law firms will give you 30 minutes free advice if you ask. Ensure you choose a children’s law specialist and write down any questions you have so that you make the most of your free 30 minutes Important note: If the child is already with you, you may not be accepted as a kinship/connected persons foster carer(s) as each local authority has their own rules. If this is the case, we strongly advise you to apply for and Special Guardianship Order with a suitable SGO Support Plan. Emergency placement You may receive a call from a social worker wanting to place a child with you and there may be no time to complete a fostering assessment and approval process. You may be approved as a temporary foster carer so the child can live with you.
  • Have you received a call from children services wanting to place a child with you?
    Yes – Do not accept the child living with you unless you have received written email, letter, note on letter headed paper, request from the social worker as to place the child with you as a temporary family/connected person foster carer. Ask for the social workers contact details including email and mobile number
  • Have you been assessed?
    No. if the social worker wants to place the child with you and there isn’t time to complete a full fostering assessment and approval process before the child comes to live with you, they may assess you quickly as a temporary foster carer so the child can be placed with you immediately. Temporary approval can last for 16 - 24 weeks. A full fostering assessment must also be carried out within that time period for the child to remain lawfully with you. Important Note: If you do not receive an email or letter of request for emergency placement Children’s Services may not have any financial or other responsibility for, or involvement with, the child. It may be a deed as a private arrangement. Therefore, it is essential and your responsibility to make sure that you have a written request from the social worker clearly stating the terms of e emergency placement: child(rens) names;’ date placed; their contact information; the reason why the children are required to live with you and expected length of stay. Next steps: We strongly advise you to seek free legal advice from a specialist in children’s issues. Some law firms will give you 30 minutes free advice if you ask Please make sure you write out your questions first so that you make the most of your free 30 minutes
  • Do you know the needs of the child being cared for? (Special needs etc.)
    Is anyone else such as a social worker or health visitor involved and concerned about the child’s welfare? If so, how will they provide care and support for the child? It is very important to issue a written request (either by email or a recorded delivery letter) to the social worker before the court order has been granted to ask about the prebirth antenatal care and any significant information such as drug or alcohol abuse, emotional, sexual or neglect the child may have experienced, or even a parent’s additional needs. This is called full disclosure and often will be avoided by children’s services. This information will have a big impact on the child’s emotional and physical wellbeing and will further impact on your lived experience.
  • Is there enough space in the household to accommodate a kinship child?
    Be aware that you may need more space as children get older, such as when they can no longer share a bedroom or need room to do homework. How might you get help with bigger accommodation if this is a problem?
  • Arranging for respite times when caring?
    Sometimes you might need a bit of a break. This might be possible if, for instance, the child(ren) can sometimes spend a day; a weekend or a short holiday with their parents or with another family member. Could the child(ren) take part in children’s activities such as Brownies or Scout camps that would be a way for you to have a break while they have fun with other children? There’s nothing wrong with needing respite and it might make all the difference to being able to carry on, however you should always try to put the child’s needs first. Respite works best if the child goes somewhere they want to be. As a general rule, please be aware respite is not offered to kinship carers Be aware that that you may need more space as children get older, such as when they can no longer share a bedroom or need room to do homework. How might you get help with bigger accommodation if this is a problem?
  • How will kinship care affect your life?
    Think about the ways in which caring for a child will affect the way you lead your life and any changes you will need to make. Do you have other caring responsibilities to fit in? Are you prepared to make any necessary sacrifices to your social life and outside interests? Consider who might be able to help you with any childcare you need and how you will find out about other important things, such as negotiating the education system
  • How do you plan to manage financially?
    It is important to work out how you will be affected by any loss of income from employment and whether you will be eligible for any benefits or other financial support, which might help to cover any loss. Consider what it might cost to provide for any child you are caring for and whether you can manage this without financial help. It is important to be realistic when considering this element. Parents remain responsible for maintaining their children unless they have ‘looked after’ status, but very often kinship carers do not receive any financial support from parents. It is possible to apply for maintenance from the Child Support Agency If the child is placed with you by the local authority, you should be entitled to receive a foster allowance. In other cases, you may be eligible for discretionary payments. If in any doubt about the status of the arrangement, you should seek legal advice or contact our advice team.
  • Can I get help with finances for a child coming to my home?
    Yes. This type of financial support falls within Regulation 6(2)(a). This regulation which states a local authority may provide financial support where necessary to ensure the special guardian can raise the child. The local authority is permitted to (‘may’) disregard means where they are considering providing financial support in respect of a ‘settling-in grant’.
  • How will your age and health affect your ability to care for a child?
    It is sensible to think about your age in relation to that of the child and any long-term plans. Think about your health and how you would manage if your health deteriorates. Will you be able to go on providing care for as long as it is needed? Are there others who will be able to help you or take over if necessary?
  • How will you arrange contact with parents?
    When fostering, then children’s services will have input and you as the foster carer should be asked for your thoughts and experiences. For other orders; you will have to think about arranging contact with the child’s parents? Can contact be informal, or will it need to be organised and supervised by someone? Where will it take place? Who will pay for travel and other expenses? (The birth parents pay any expenses relating to contact for both the child(ren) and themselves) How will any conflict be managed?
  • How will kinship care affect your family relationships?
    You should think about how your new role will affect your own and the child’s relationship with their parents, as well as with other family members. How will your own children feel about someone else joining the household? How will the child react to their grandparents taking on a parental role? While none of this is written in stone, it is important to understand that everyone’s responses can and frequently change over time
  • What is your long-term plan for caring for a child?
    If you agree to take the child for a short period, might this turn into a long-term commitment? Are you clear about for how long the child will need your care and are you in a position to meet that need? SGO’s last until the child is 18 and in most cases, beyond.
  • Who will support you?
    It will be helpful to try to think from the start about what support you will require to meet the child’s needs and where you might get this. Friends, neighbours and family can all be a great source of help; and there are support groups, networks and various information sources for kinship carers. There are services available to all children and to those with particular needs. Depending on the legal situation, you may be entitled to support from children’s services, or any help may be discretionary. You must consider your own needs if you are going to do the best you can for the children. It’s important that you care for yourself and keep yourself fit and healthy emotionally, as well as physically.
  • Have you thought about your motivations for becoming a kinship carer?
    You might have thought very carefully about becoming a kinship carer, or everything may have happened in a rush. You may have lots of complicated emotions such as feeling responsible, angry, or that you have no real choice but to help. None of these feelings are wrong, however if you are clear about why you are offering to help it will enable you to make better informed decisions. You can still say no if you have weighed it all up and feel this isn’t the right choice for either the child(ren) or you(r family) Only you know the right decision for you. (Disclaimer/note we are not offering you legal advice; the above information is freely available) (Please can you use a screen print of the links below as photos with the subject) Special Guardianship Statuary Guidance Forms to apply for a Special Guardianship Adoption and Children Act 2002
  • Enter your answer here

For more information, please visit our FAQs section

bottom of page