Kinship Care Week in Scotland runs from 14-20th March 2022 and the Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland is running events all week. You can find out what is on using this link – https://kinship.scot/kinship-care-week-2022/
To mark Kinship Care Week, our Emma Letham has answered some of the Frequently Asked Questions about Kinship Care Orders.
The general principle is that children should be brought up by their parents without intervention from their local authority. However, if this cannot happen, a child should be placed with kinship carers where appropriate and possible.
What is a Kinship Care Order?
A Kinship Care Order is applied for under Section 11 of The Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Under a Kinship Care Order, the Court can grant some or all Parental Rights and Responsibilities to Kinship Carers.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities are held by the child’s birth mother and sometimes the birth father. The important point to note is that under a Kinship Care Order, the Parental Rights and Responsibilities are not completely removed from the parents; they are shared with the Kinship Carers.
Who can apply for a Kinship Care Order?
A Kinship Carer is someone who is related to the child or has known the child and with whom the child has a pre-existing relationship.
Under the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009, a Kinship Carer is defined as a “person who is related to the child (through blood, marriage or civil partnership) or a person with whom the child has a pre-existing relationship”.
How much does a Kinship Care Order cost?
The cost of a Kinship Care Order can depend on a number of matters, including whether the application is likely to be contested by the child’s birth parent(s).
If the child’s birth parent(s) are in agreement with the Kinship Care Order, this means the Court process will likely be straightforward and a solicitor who specialises in these matters can offer a fixed cost for the legal work to be undertaken.
If the child’s birth parent(s) are going to contest the application, then the Court process will take longer and there will be an increase in costs.
We would recommend checking if you are eligible for Legal Aid to assist with the cost of obtaining a Kinship Care Order. Most local authorities would require you to check your position in relation to Legal Aid in the first instance.
If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, then the local authority may contribute to the legal costs involved in applying for a Kinship Care Order; they may meet some or all of the costs.
It may be beneficial for you to obtain information from the local authority in relation to their contribution towards legal costs in writing.
It is important to remember that the Court will not automatically grant a Kinship Care Order – the Order will only be granted where it is in the best interests of the child. In reaching a decision, the Court’s paramount consideration will be the welfare of the child.
If you have any questions about Kinship Care or applying for a Kinship Care Order, please do not hesitate to contact our Emma Letham at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, confidential chat.