Different circumstances – advice and help for all
Sometimes a kinship care arrangement will be short term, giving the birth parents an occasional short break. Or it might be a temporary arrangement while the birth parents get back on their feet. Sometimes it is long term or even permanent. Every situation is different. The arrangement might be informal, it might involve the social work department, or it may be that a court or a children’s hearing has played a role.
The confidential service provided by the Citizens Advice Scotland Kinship Care Service can offer advice and information about the kinds of issues that many kinship carers face, including clarifying the legal status of the arrangement in which you are looking after a child, and explaining your responsibilities as well as your rights and entitlement to financial and other support.
Becoming a kinship carer can have a significant impact on your finances. You may need to work fewer hours or even give up a job. You may need to move house so you have more room. And there may be additional expenses such as clothes, toys and equipment to make sure the child you are looking after is safe. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to financial assistance to help you look after the child. The rules can be complex and the arrangements differ from one part of Scotland to another. The Kinship Care Service can help you find out if you are eligible for any extra money. If you are on a low income, the helpline will be able to advise you on any changes to your benefits and tax credits.
Practical and emotional support
Taking care of a child can be challenging. The Citizens Advice Scotland Kinship Care Service can help you access different kinds of support that are available in your area. You might want to meet up with other kinship carers to share experiences. You might want to know about training to help you manage particular issues, such as conflict with the natural parents or how to cope with physical or mental health problems. In an emergency, you might need to know who to call or you might want to access crisis counselling. The Kinship Care Service can help you find out what is available in your local area and how best to go about getting the support you need.