Kinship carers

What is kinship care?

Sometimes relatives and family friends care for children because their parents are unable to do so. If you are looking after a child like this you are a 'kinship carer'.

Kinship care happens when:

  • Birth parents have agreed to their child(ren) living with you
  • A children’s hearing said the child(ren) should live with you
  • When kinship carers hold a kinship care order (otherwise known as a residence order or section 11)

Who are the Kinship Support Team?

We are a team that specifically works to support kinship carers.

The child does not have to have a social worker for a kinship carer to receive a service from us.

Support and advice we can offer includes:

  • Understanding the formal aspects of looking after a child including the Children’s Hearing system and council processes
  • Support and ideas when you are stuck about how to understand and deal with your children’s behaviour
  • Helping you to communicate and work with all the people involved with your child including family, friends and professionals
  • Accessing local support groups, services and training
  • Exploring any concerns or difficulties you may have to help you care safely for the child in your care
  • Support at times of crisis
  • We can provide practical support including applying to charities for household goods or a short break holiday.
  • It may just be that you need someone to talk to or to point you in the right direction.
  • If we have your email address we can send you details of events and activities. 

Other support we can offer

Kinship Disability Support Group

The Kinship Team in partnership with the Yard provide a space for kinship children with a disability and their families to meet, play and share experiences.  A kinship carer said “The group has given us both a space to just be ourselves, be with people that get us and our situation. It has given my child a place to go, have fun and play and there is nowhere else that she can do that.” 

Kinship Carer Involvement Group

A group for kinship carers providing space to support each other, with a range of speakers on topics of interest and a chance to have your say on the development of your kinship service. 

To find out more about these groups, call us on 0131 529 2588 or e-mail

Financial support

The support we provide depends on how you became a kinship carer.

Full details of the fees and allowances can be found at

All carers are paid in advance. When a placement ends there will be a small overpayment. The City of Edinburgh Council will reclaim this overpayment from the date that the child left.

Kinship carers of looked after children can only claim Child Benefit which will be deducted. When the child stops being looked after we will deduct child related benefits except those related to a disability from your Kinship payment.   

Kinship carers of children that are not looked after can claim:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit/Universal Credit
  • Other child-related benefits

Entitlement to Kinship payments depends on whether the child or young person in your care:

  • Was previously looked after or
  • Was placed (in your care) with the involvement of the local authority or
  • Is at risk of becoming looked after.

You must also be in the process of applying for, or in possession of a Kinship Care Order for the child.

Entitlement to Kinship payment is assessed by the Kinship Team and will consider the child’s needs at the time they came into placement and the time the request for Kinship payments is made.

If you are unsure of your eligibility, you can submit an application and the Kinship Team will begin their assessment. If the child in your care is eligible to receive Kinship payment these will be back dated to the date you provided all information for the necessary checks. Kinship payment cannot begin once the Kinship child has reached 16 years old.  

Contact us for an application form on the contact details below.  

Funding to support legal costs

If you want to get a legal order to secure the child in your care and do not qualify for legal aid you may be able to get funding towards legal expenses. The funding is based on your circumstances. Please contact the Kinship team for more information.

Kinship care support

Contact our advice line Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm with any queries. Leave a message at any time and someone will get back to you.

Telephone: 0131 529 2588