Children cared for by family or friends

Kinship care is providing the care, protection and nurturing for children who are separated from their parents, or whose parents are unable to provide care and support for them.

A kinship carer is an adult who is looking after the child or children of a relative or friend on a full time basis.

This arrangement may be a temporary or a permanent arrangement. All across Wales, thousands of people, such as grandparents, older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, more distant relatives and close family friends are caring for children. There are between 200,000 and 300,000 children living with kinship carers in the UK and there are many circumstances which can lead to kinship care situations. The arrangements may be made informally or formally with a legal order from the Court.

The rights and responsibilities of kinship carers and the support and services available to them can be complicated, and vary depending on:

  1. How the child came to live with you.
  2. Where you live.

There are other ways of you caring for the child/ren, apart from becoming a foster carer – you could become a Special Guardian or apply for a Residence Order – these are options you may wish to discuss with the Social Worker.  If you decide to proceed with your application to become a foster carer and are approved at our fostering panel, the child/ren concerned will remain looked after by the local authority and you will not have any parental responsibility.

If you do decide to continue with your application then Social Services will be involved in your life. Ideally you will have been assessed and approved as a foster carer before the child/ren comes to live with you, however it is possible, for practical reasons, that some of you will undergo the assessment after the child/ren has moved in.

The assessment will be undertaken by a Social Worker from the fostering team.

The assessment will gather information to:

  • help the Local Authority decide whether you could be approved as a foster carer
  • explore what your support needs are in connection with caring for the child.