A Kinship Carer is anyone who is looking after another person’s child on a full time basis. You can become a kinship carers in different ways, some formal and others informal, and this can affect your rights, the responsibilities you have and the type of support you might be entitled to.
A Special Guardianship Order (often known as an SGO) is a legal order where the court appoints a carer – usually a relative – as the ‘Special Guardian’ of a child until they turn 18. The Special Guardian then shares parental responsibility for the child with the parents, and can make nearly all the major decisions about the child without having to consult them.
The person named in a Child Arrangements Order shares parental responsibility for the child with the parents, and can make most important decisions on behalf of the child without needing the permission of the parents. It lasts until the child turns 18 unless the court states otherwise.
Kinship foster care is when a friend or family member becomes an official foster carer for a child. This is different to other forms of kinship care as the child is then considered ‘looked after’, and you won’t have parental responsibility.
Informal kinship care is where you are looking after a child who is closely related to you but you do not have parental responsibility for them and they are not ‘looked after’ by the local authority.