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Becoming a kinship carer

In many instances’ Kinship Carers are people already supporting the child or their family and have some knowledge about the child’s changing circumstances. If alternative care is being considered for a child, the social worker will work in partnership with birth parents and child to identify suitable adults who may provide care.

If you would like to be considered as a Kinship Carer, it is helpful that you first make the child’s parents aware, however in all instances you should inform the child’s social worker directly.

In Formal Kinship Care arrangements, the Local Authority has a legal responsibility and duty to assess the suitability of Kinship Carers. This assessment is ongoing from the point of your initial contact with the professionals and will consider your involvement in the child’s life from birth.

A Viability Assessment will be undertaken in all circumstances prior to/ or within six weeks of a child being placed to meet statutory requirements and determine the immediate suitability of the Kinship Carers. If the child is to remain in placement a more comprehensive assessment will be undertaken by a member of the Kinship Team.

The kinship assessment process can take several months and is likely to involve tasks such as:

  • Mandatory Statutory checks which include: Criminal History via PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme)/ Disclosure Scotland for any adult in the home.; a Medical, Local Authority checks, personal references, and a home safety check.
  • A social worker will be allocated to undertake the assessment and organise a series of meetings with the kinship carers. This will build a profile of the adult and conversations will involve sharing personal information.
  • Building up a clear understanding of the kinship carers role in the child’s life and their ability to meet their day-to-day and long-term needs.
  • Determining the kinship carers personal support network and who can provide support in caring for the child.
  • Exploring relationships and lifestyle of people living in the same house as the child
  • Attendance and presentation at planning, education, health meetings for the child

Each assessment will explore the strengths and vulnerabilities and support needs of the of the Kinship Carer/s and family.

Depending on the outcome of the assessment and the child’s circumstances, the recommendations will be presented to either a Looked After Child Review or a Kinship Panel. This Independent Review Officer or Panel Chairperson will review the assessment and determine the approval of the Kinship Carer. The information gathered for the report will be shared with others to inform their decision.

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