All across Scotland, thousands of children are cared for by relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or close family friends, because their birth parents are unable to care for them. If you are looking after a child in this way, you are a kinship carer and the local authority which has asked you to care for the child may have a responsibility to provide you with practical and financial support to ensure that you are able to meet the needs of the child. The rights and responsibilities of kinship carers can be complicated and it is important to get advice early, so you know about your options and feel confident that the decisions you are making are in the best interests of the child. You should never feel under pressure to enter into a kinship care arrangement if you are not confident that you will get the right support.
You can get advice from you local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) (find them in the yellow pages or at www.cas.org.uk) or by calling the Kinship Care helpline on 0808 800 0006 or visiting www.kinshipcarescotland.org.uk
The social work or children's services department at your local authority should also be able to advise you (Note: If the child you care for has come to you from a different local authority to the one you live in, you will normally need to deal with that local authority.)
You can also contact the Children 1st Kinship Care Helpline on 0800 028 2233 which provides a listening ear and support for kinship carers.