Kinship is a means by which a child who might be taken into care or placed with foster parents by Social Services can remain living with a family member such as a grandparent, guardian or carer if their parents are unable to care for them.
Applying for kinship means assuming Parental Responsibility for a child and the decision should not be taken lightly, as both carers with kinship and children have legal rights – and local authorities retain certain legal duties towards children in kinship foster care.
Because of the complexities involved in applying for kinship, it is advisable for carers to take expert legal advice before making a final decision.
Even if a child is a family member, they may be a child in need of additional support for physical or mental health conditions – or may have suffered trauma as a result of past experiences or abuse.
Caring for a child in need can be rewarding but challenging – and maintaining a stable home for children in kinship foster care is paramount.
Obtaining support and services from the local authority for children in kinship foster care or in need can also require legal intervention to help ensure the local authority fulfils its legal duties under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Placing a child with a family member may cost the local authority less than a placement with a foster family – and although it may be difficult to consider the financial aspect of applying for kinship when accepting Parental Responsibility for a child, kinship foster carers must make sure they can support a child financially and that they receive the same financial support from the local authority as foster carers not related to the child.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers can advise family members, guardians and carers considering applying for kinship on their legal obligations as a kinship foster carer – including accepting Parental Responsibility for a child – as well as a local authority’s legal duties towards a child in kinship foster care and their carers.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers can also advise kinship foster carers on Judicial Review to challenge local authority decisions and make sure the appropriate financial support is given to those who are kinship foster carers.
Duncan Lewis is ranked by the Legal 500 2014 for its Family & Matrimonial work – and the Duncan Lewis team includes Advanced Members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel – so our team is well placed to help you with any issues involved in kinship foster care.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers offer a fixed fee for an initial client interview and assessment of a private child contact matter involving kinship.
After a case has been assessed, it is usually possible for a fixed fee arrangement to be put in place – and Duncan Lewis will always advise clients of the costs in advance.
Duncan Lewis is also one of the UK’s largest providers of Legal Aid family law services – including child care law – and in some cases may be able to offer Legal Aid funding for child care cases, including help with the costs of applying for court orders if a client is on benefits or has a low income.
Duncan Lewis children lawyers always advise clients who are seeking help with child care matters – or who wish to apply to be a kinship foster carer – to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss the issues.
For expert legal advice on all child care matters – including kinship – contact Duncan Lewis Children Lawyers on 020 7923 4020.