1. The Scottish Government, in collaboration with the Centre for Excellence for Looked after Children in Scotland ( CELCIS), have developed this National Guidance to support the implementation of Part 13: Support for Kinship Care as set out in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) and the Kinship Care Assistance (Scotland) Order 2016 (the 2016 Order) . The 2014 Act specifies the types of court order that will be recognised as a Kinship Care Order ( KCO) for the purpose of receiving kinship care assistance. It also sets out the duties of local authorities to make arrangements to ensure that assistance is made available to kinship carers of eligible children who are applying for or are holders of a kinship care order, eligible children who are subjects, or have been subjects, of such an order, guardians of eligible children appointed by virtue of section 7 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act) and eligible children with a guardian appointed under section 7 of the 1995 Act. The 2016 Order specifies that a local authority must provide kinship care assistance in such a way as to safeguard, support and promote the wellbeing of an eligible child and describes the types of kinship care assistance that are to be made available to different groups of people.
2. This non-statutory guidance applies to those persons entitled to kinship care assistance as specified above. This guidance is not applicable for looked after children (unless kinship carers are applying for a kinship care order). For looked after children, please refer to Part V: Kinship Care of the Looked after Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and associated guidance.
3. We want Scotland to be the best place for all of our children to grow up. The Scottish Government is committed to Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) a national improvement programme which provides a foundation for working with all children and families. This approach aims to achieve secure, nurturing, positive childhoods, from which all children and young people can develop into successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. This is underpinned by a strong commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 1989.
4. Across Scotland there are many children who may live with family and friends at some point during their childhoods. This may be due to parental imprisonment, parental drug and alcohol problems, parental mental health issues, bereavement, parental illness, parental absence, as well as neglect and abuse. During these times, grandparents, aunties, uncles, older siblings and others can provide the love, nurture and stability that children need. This may be for a short period of time. For some families, it may become a more permanent arrangement if the child cannot return to the care of their parent.
5. Wherever possible children should have the opportunity to grow up where they feel they belong, where they are safe and secure, and where they have dependable, enduring relationships with the adults who care for them. Such circumstances allow children to develop healthy attachments where they have the best chance to be confident, resilient, healthy and happy individuals. Permanence can be viewed as having three components, emotional permanence (e.g. positive attachments), physical permanence (e.g. stability) and legal permanence. Brought together this means children can have stable, securing and nurturing relationships that continue into adulthood.
6. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of looked after children in kinship care placements over the last ten years. In 2014/15, there were 4,158 looked after children living with friends and family; this represented just over a quarter (27%) of all looked after children in Scotland. 1 This may reflect a strong Scottish Government policy objective to identify family and friends as a 'first option' for a placement when a child can no longer live with their parents. When a looked after child lives in a kinship placement this is sometimes referred to as a 'formal' kinship care arrangement.
7. Analysis of 2001 Census data found 1.3% of the under 18 child population in Scotland lived with kin. This equates to approximately 15,433 children. 2 Using the Census 2011 statistics and the Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland 2011-12, we can estimate that in 2011 there were up to 11,000 children and young people, aged 0-17 years who were not looked after and living with friends and family. This is sometimes referred to as an informal kinship care arrangement because the child is not formally looked after.
8. For the majority of these children, this is a private family arrangement where there is no court order and/or statutory involvement of child welfare agencies. There are some children in informal kinship care who are not looked after but have a court order which provides them with legal security ensuring a more stable home environment. For those children, orders may have been made by the courts under the 1995 Act, which will set out conditions of residence for the child and may transfer some or all of the parental rights and responsibilities. These types of formal orders are classified as "kinship care orders" for the purpose of the 2014 Act, as set out at section 72(1). The 2014 Act introduces a duty on local authorities to provide assistance to people with such a kinship care order or people who are seeking such a kinship care order and to eligible children who are the subject of one of these orders.
9. The 2014 Act specifically recognises the role of legal guardians who care for children and the potential requirement of kinship care assistance for guardians and those eligible children in their care. Under section 11 of the 1995 Act, the court can specify which parental responsibilities are imposed and which parental rights are conferred on the guardian. The 2014 Act provides that an order under section 11 of the 1995 Act is to be considered a kinship care order, and also that a person who has been appointed as a guardian under section 7 of the 1995 Act in relation to an eligible child is to qualify for kinship care assistance. Kinship care assistance is also to be made available to the eligible child who has a guardian.
10. This guidance will explain the provisions of kinship care orders and kinship care assistance as enacted in the 2014 Act and the 2016 Order. The purpose of the Act as a whole is explained, and definitions are provided for terms frequently used in this guidance. The guidance is divided into two sections: Part one explains the legal parameters of the kinship care order. Part two describes the relevant kinship care assistance including information and advice, the provision of financial support and assistance with the financial cost of the 2016 Order. Appendices are provided for those with a wider interest in this area. Appendix A expands on kinship care policy developments in Scotland. Appendix B is Part 13 of Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and Appendix C is the Kinship Care Assistance (Scotland) Order 2016 (the 2016 Order) . Appendix D contains information about the GIRFEC National Practice Model, for use in considering the wellbeing of a child. Appendix E provides information on the calculation of financial allowances. Appendix F provides information on wider support that may be appropriate to support children and families. Appendix G contains a list of useful organisations and further information.
11. Practitioners will also need to be aware of other parts of the 2014 Act, most notably Part 1 (Rights of Children), Part 3 (Children's Services Planning), Part 4 (Provision of Named Persons), Part 5 (Child's Plan), Part 18 (Section 96: Assessment of wellbeing) and Part 12: Relevant services for children at risk of becoming looked after, etc. Other relevant legislative and policy guidance is listed in Appendix A.
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