Sunday, 13 April 2008

Support for Kinship carer’s–

Support for kinship carer’s– information for Grandparents Apart Self Help Group

Getting it right for every child in kinship and foster care’ (the national kinship and foster care strategy) makes wide ranging proposals to support kinship carers covering finance, training and other support, such as respite care.

A link to this document is attached below:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/12/03143704/0

Kinship care allowances.

‘Getting it right for every child in kinship and foster care’ proposes to support kinship carers financially in the following ways:

All kinship carers
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) will develop a specialist information service for all kinship carers to give advice on benefits and maximising financial support.
In July 2007, the Scottish Government published an information booklet commissioned from CAS entitled: Kinship Carers: Possible benefit entitlement and potential issues when claiming benefits. A link is attached below:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/07/04134847/0
Kinship carers could also contact their local Citizens Advice Scotland office to discuss any benefits to which they or the children for whom they are caring may be entitled. A link is attached: http://www.cas.org.uk/
There will be improved assessment and approval processes as well as better training and support for both foster and kinship carers. An external reference group, led by The Fostering Network (TFN) and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) was formed to deal with processes arising from the strategy. This group will report its recommendations to Ministers in the coming months.
A national protocol will be developed for dealing with complaints and allegations against both foster and kinship carers – again, there is an external reference group of experts working on this. The external reference group will report their recommendations to Ministers in the coming months.
Approved kinship carers of looked after children
Approved kinship carers of looked after children will be paid allowances by the local authority to treat them on an equivalent basis to that local authority’s foster carers. As foster carers are not eligible for child benefit, any child benefit contribution payable to a kinship carer will be deducted from their allowance prior to payment by the local authority. If kinship carers wish to discuss eligibility/the timescale for payment of this allowance, they should contact their local social work department.
To be eligible for this payment, grandparents or other relative carers must care for a looked after child. ‘Looked after’ is defined in law under Section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. It generally refers to:



 a child for whom the local authority is providing accommodation because no-one has parental responsibility for him/her; he/she is lost or abandoned; or the person who has been caring for him/her is no longer able to do so. This may be temporarily or permanently the case;
 a child who is subject to a supervision requirement from a children’s hearing;
 a child who is subject to certain orders under the 1995 Act; or
 a child who is the subject of a permanence order or permanence order proceedings
Copies of both these documents may be obtained free of charge from Suzanne Allan on 0131 244 0407 or suzanne.allan@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

KINSHIP CARE ALLOWANCES
Approved kinship carers of looked after children:
Approved kinship carers of looked after children will be paid allowances by the local authority to treat them on an equivalent basis to that local authority’s foster carers. As foster carers are not eligible for child benefit, any child benefit contribution payable to a kinship carer will be deducted from their allowance prior to payment by the local authority.
• To be eligible for this payment, grandparents or other relative carers must care for a looked after child.
‘Looked after’ is defined in law under Section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995:
• A supervision requirement made by a children’s hearing under section 70 of the 1995 Act.
• A child accommodated by the Local Authority under section 25 of the 1995 Act.
• An order made or authorisation or warrant granted by virtue of chapter 2, 3 or 4 of Part II of the 1995 Act.
• A placement made by a local authority which has taken parental responsibility under section 86 of the 1995 Act (to be repealed shortly under the Adoption and Children Act 2007).
Children are not “looked after” if they are the subject of an order under section 11 of the 1995 Act.
Under Section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, Kinship carers may continue to approach their local Social Work department for help and support if they feel that the child is in need. This help may include giving assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.
Financial support for all kinship carers
• Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) will be developing a specialist information service for all kinship carers to give advice on benefits and how to maximise financial support. The Scottish Government will be working with the UK government to tackle current problems around benefits entitlement for all carers.
• In addition, local authorities already have powers under Section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, and use them, to support children and families in need. Kinship carers can still continue to approach their local Social Work department for help and support if they feel that the child for

whom they are caring is in need. This help may include giving assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.
• In July 2007, the Scottish Government published an information booklet commissioned from CAS entitled: Kinship Carers: Possible benefit entitlement and potential issues when claiming benefits.
• Carers could also contact their local Citizens Advice Scotland office to discuss any benefits to which they or the children for whom they care may be entitled.
Their website: http://www.cas.org.uk
Seeking advice on Legal Status of the child
If carers have any questions about the legal status of the children for whom they care and whether or not they would be eligible for this allowance, they should discuss this either with their solicitor or their local Social Work Department.
If they do not have a solicitor, then they should contact the Law Society of Scotland, 26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7YR on 0131 226 7411. They should be able to put carers in touch with a local solicitor who is a specialist in family law.
Their website : http://www.lawscot.org.uk
The Concordat
The historic concordat/agreement with local government has given councils record resources for the next three years. COSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), Scottish Government and local authorities have a shared commitment to providing better financial support for the kinship carers of looked after children.
Some local authorities already provide this support and the Government and local authorities will be working together to implement the commitment as soon as possible. A reference group will be producing guidance and good practice information focussed on assessment procedures, recruitment, training, and support for kinship carers and advice on children’s permanent care. This information will be available in the autumn.