Case studies

Anne and Sheila

12902886413_e7867be067_zAnne is retired and is the kinship carer of her two grandchildren, aged 4 and 10, who came to live with her following a Children’s Hearing and who are Looked After children, through a Supervision Order.  Anne learned that her local authority make kinship care allowance payments of £96 per week for children aged 0-5 years and £118 per week for children aged 6-10 years.

Anne’s friend, Sheila, who is also retired, lives in a different local authority to Anne and is also a kinship carer.  She cares for her grandson, aged 15, who was removed from his mother’s care by the local authority and, with her formal, written agreement, placed with Sheila.  He is also a Looked After child, and Sheila discovered that her local authority makes kinship care payments of £50 per week, regardless of the age of the child.

Both grandmothers sought advice from their local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out if they would be better off receiving kinship care allowance or electing to receive Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit (in Anne and Sheila’s case, a combined sum of approximately £82).  Because of their different circumstances, the ages of the children and the differences in the amount of financial support offered by their respective local authorities, Anne was better off choosing a kinship care payment, while Sheila was better off choosing to apply for Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit.

As this case study shows, the law around kinship care is complex – that’s why we recommend getting expert advice.

Peter

12832555643_898565f937_zPeter’s five-year-old grandson, Sean, came to live with him a few months ago, when his mother died.  Sean’s father has not seen him since he was a baby and has no contact with him.   Peter visited his local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out if he was entitled to financial support from his local authority.  Peter learned that, because Sean was not known to the social work department, and they had had no part in placing him with his grandfather, he had no entitlement to apply for kinship care allowance.

However, he learned that he would be eligible to apply for Guardian’s Allowance from the HMRC and he also learned that he could apply to his local authority for a one-off discretionary payment from Section 22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 if there was something specific that he needed for Sean (such as bedding or clothing).

As this case study shows, the law around kinship care is complex – that’s why we recommend getting expert advice.

Margaret and John

12903138764_8b1bf1bddf_qMargaret and John have been kinship carers for their niece, Chloe, for two years.  Chloe is a Looked After child, who was made the subject of a Supervision Order (Section 70 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) by a children’s hearing, and Margaret and John receive kinship care allowance.   Recently Chloe’s social worker has been encouraging them to apply for a Residence Order (Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995), explaining that this would give Margaret and John parental rights and responsibilities and would remove the need for Chloe to attend regular children’s hearings and Looked After reviews.  Margaret and John visited their local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out more, and learned that, after the granting of a Residence Order, Chloe would no longer be a Looked After child, that their kinship care allowance payments may stop, and that they would be required to pay legal fees.

The adviser in the Citizens Advice Bureau advised that they should contact their social worker for confirmation that, should they decide to apply for a Residence Order, their kinship care allowance payments would continue after the granting of the order, and that the local authority would provide funding to cover any legal fees incurred.  Margaret and John also explained to the adviser that, currently Chloe’s social worker takes her to have contact with her mother, but have been told by the social worker that, if they are granted a Residence Order, they will be expected to do this.  They are anxious because Chloe’s mother is angry and aggressive towards them and this distresses Chloe.  The adviser suggested that they might like to discuss a Permanence Order (Section 86 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) as an alternative to a Residence Order, and explained that, under a Permanence Order, Chloe’s Supervision Order would cease, but she would still be Looked After, and the local authority would still retain some parental rights and responsibilities, and could still be asked to manage contact with Chloe’s mother.  Also, a Permanence Order is granted to the local authority, rather than to the kinship carer, and, because of this, the kinship carer is not required to pay legal fees.

As this case study shows, the law around kinship care is complex – that’s why we recommend getting expert advice.