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Home chevron_right Children, families, and safeguarding chevron_right Kinship care

Kinship care

Some children are cared for by members of their extended family, friends, or other people they're connected to. This is called kinship care. It can also be called 'family and friends care' or 'connected persons care'.

Children are cared for in a kinship care arrangement because their parents cannot give them the support and care they need. This may be because of:

  • the death of the child's parent
  • parental drug or alcohol abuse
  • neglect
  • domestic abuse in their home

Please note, when we say 'parent' on this page, we mean parent, guardian, or someone with parental responsibility.

Kinship care arrangements can stop a child needing to be taken into care, and we encourage them whenever possible.

There are different kinds of kinship care.

Types of kinship care

Family-only arrangement


In a family-only arrangement, a child is cared for by a close relative. A close relative can be their grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, or step-parent.

We do not need to do an assessment of the arrangement.

In a family-only arrangement, the child's parents keep parental responsibility. This is different to a connected foster care arrangement.

Private fostering


Private fostering is where a child is cared for by someone who is not their parent or close relative.

If the private fostering arrangement lasts for 28 days or more, we need to approve it. We'll do an assessment to make sure that the child's needs are being met.

Find out more about private fostering.

Child Arrangements Order and Special Guardianship Order


Child Arrangements Orders (previously known as a Residence Order) and Special Guardianship Orders are legal decisions about who a child lives with.

The court may decide that the child lives with a family member, friend of the family, or a foster carer who is not related to them.

Connected foster care


When a child is in our care (looked after), a connected foster carer is a family member or friend who takes care of them.

We'll do an assessment to make sure you're a suitable person to take care of the child.

In a connected foster care arrangement, we share parental responsibility with the child's parents. This is different to a family-only arrangement.

Unregulated placement


When a child is in our care (looked after), we must assess any family member or friend who is taking care of them. If you do not want to be assessed, or you're not approved after the assessment, the arrangement is called an unregulated placement. A social worker will do a risk assessment and decide whether the child can stay with you, or if someone else needs to take care of them.

Support for kinship carers

To find out about support for kinship carers, contact the Multi-Agency Children's Hub (MACH) by calling 01642 726004 or emailing

You can get advice and connect with other kinship carers on the kinship care charity website.

We Care You Care supports all carers living in the South Tees area.