- New Enquiries
Can my children live with their grandparents if I am not able to care?
- AuthorJasmine Lees
When the Local Authority have concerns surrounding a parent (or carer’s) care of a child then the Local Authority may complete an initial viability assessment of the capability of any wider family members or friends to provide safe care for the child. If this initial assessment is positive, the assessment will progress to a full kinship assessment which is a more in-depth assessment about the person’s ability to provide safe care to the child and manage any risks posed to the child.
If the child(ren) is subsequently placed with that person, the carer is often known as a kinship carer and this can be a temporary or long term solution. This placement may be an informal family arrangement agreed between the kinship carers and the parents or may be a formal arrangement agreed by the Family Court if a child is subject to Care Proceedings.
An article written by the BBC in February 2022 stated that there are up to 300,000 kinship carers in the UK who care for a young relative. This is detailed to be an 88% increase on relatives caring for children over them being placed in foster care placements in the last 10 years.
The article touches upon the process of assessment for kinship carers being the same assessment as that of an official foster carer but that there is often an inequality in the payment and financial support offered to the different types of carers. In some cases, the kinship carer will be provided with fostering payments in the same way that the Local Authority pay foster carers but this will often depend on how the placement is formalised.
A national survey by the charity Kinship completed in 2021 sought confirmation from a pool of 1948 carers about the financial support they were receiving and it was found that a third of carers were not receiving any support.  The survey known as “Kinship Care: State of the Nation Survey 2021” made numerous recommendations of the support which should be offered to kinship carers in light of the likelihood that the children in their care had often suffered trauma and commonly had additional needs. A key recommendation was for a Kinship Care Act to be passed to ensure that kinship care is “recognised in law” to ensure that all kinship carers are appropriately supported.
The process of the kinship assessment has been criticised by those who go through the process as they are judged to the same standards of official foster carers and some kinship carers may fall down at hurdles such as a lack of bedroom or being a smoker. The key issue is that potential kinship carers may be ruled out from caring for their family member due to these issues in the interim or long term and this results in the child being placed in a foster placement away from known family members.
How Johnson Astills can help
We understand that the Local Authority involvement can be very stressful and that is why we are here to help and provide advice. We have experience in assisting parents and kinship carers at all stages of Local Authority involvement. Please contact Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.