How do Kinship Care placements happen?
Here at Kinship Hub, we’re invested in helping families, carers, and social workers know as much as they can about Kinship Care; it’s processes, challenges and the support needs of both carers and children. We will continue to break all this information down in our weekly blog posts. Please do ask us any questions you may have, if we don’t know the answer, we promise to find out for you!
The three main routes into Kinship Care:
1. The child is placed with a Kinship Carer as part of care proceedings.
2. The child is placed outside of care proceedings, but the Local Authority is still involved in that placement- for example if a child on a Child In Need (CIN) or Child Protection (CP) plan is placed with family or friends in an emergency.
3. The child goes to live, or is already living, with a connected person as a result of a private family arrangement.
Children placed as part of care proceedings:
A child who is placed with a Kinship Carer through care proceedings will have ‘care status’ while court proceedings are ongoing (even if they are placed under Section 20- which means placed under parent’s agreement), and the placement will come under “Regulation 24” legislation (placement with connected persons). This means that it will be treated as a ‘care status’ placement until a final order is made.
Regulation 24 placements:
If the Local Authority Children’s Services are at all involved in a child being placed with a Kinship Carer (e.g. in an emergency), this is considered a “Regulation 24 placement”. An initial assessment has to be completed to make sure the placement is viable- this is called a Regulation 24 assessment. From the time the child is placed with a connected person under Regulation 24, the Local Authority has 16 weeks to complete a full assessment of the carer/s and make a recommendation as to whether the child should stay there permanently, and under what order/care plan- Special Guardianship Order or Care Order?
During the assessment period the child has ‘care status’ (even if they are Section 20) and come under the relevant Children’s Act regulations that come along with that. This means they should be visited at least every four to six weeks, have placement reviews and Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings.
Equally, during this time the carers come under fostering regulations. They should have a supervising social worker and access to training, they are also entitled to the basic rate child element of fostering fees. These fees can be claimed back if unpaid, even after an SGO is granted.
Private Family arrangements:
These placements may or may not be known about by professionals, and these carers may not even consider themselves Kinship Carers!
Kinship Care and legal orders:
Special Guardianship Orders (SGO): the most common type of order granted; grants the kinship carer “overriding parental responsibility” over all the main aspects of the children’s day to day care- including decisions about the child’s contact. This can be obtained through Local Authority care proceedings, or by applying to the courts privately.
Child Arrangement Orders: this is a less common type of order for kinship carers. Parental responsibility is shared more equally with birth parents, but the order determines where the child should live; sometimes used to regulate contact. This can be obtained through Local Authority care proceedings or by applying to the courts privately.
Care Order: this order grants Local Authority overriding parental responsibility for the child, and the child is placed with their Kinship Carers who are approved as “Family and Friends Foster Carers” for that child only. The care order means that the child has ‘care status’. Can only be obtained by a Local Authority through care proceedings.