What is Kinship care?

When parents can no longer care for their children, the best option for children is to remain within their own family or with people they know. This is called Kinship Care. A kinship carer could be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling, family friend or neighbour.

East Lothian Council strive to keep families together, and we work to improve the long-term outcomes for all children. Kinship care is considered the first option when parents cannot provide the care that a child requires.  

We work with other agencies to support kinship carers because the aim is to always keep children with their families. The Scottish Government is also devoted to keeping families together in Scotland. The Promise 2020 states, "Kinship care must be actively explored as a positive place for children to live". You can find more information on The Promise here.


Types of Kinship care

There are two main types of kinship care, formal and informal.

Formal – This is when a child has a legal status as ‘looked after’ and has been placed into care with close friends or extended family members by a local authority. A court or children’s hearing may also place a child into kinship care.  

Informal – This is when a child or young person lives with family or friends, and this private arrangement does not involve any social worker or council. In this case, the child is not legally viewed as ‘looked after’.