Margaret and John
Margaret 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 83 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2011) 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 Kinship Care 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 80 Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 as an alternative to a Kinship Care 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.