Kinship Carers – caring for young relatives
Am I a carer?
If you look after another person without being paid, for example a friend or relative who couldn’t manage without your support then you are a carer.
What is Kinship Care?
Kinship care is when grandparents or other family members step in to raise a relative’s or friend’s child. This usually happens when the child’s parents are no longer able to care for their child.
Many people do not realise that they are a carer, as they feel that it is something that they should do. The care arrangements may be very informal or in some cases the carer can formally foster or become the legal guardian of the child or young person.
What support is available for kinship carers?
Financial, practical and emotional support is available to carers to help them look after themselves and the person that they care for. There are a number of organisations that can help support carers.
The Relative Experience Project gives help and support to grandparents and their family members who are bringing up a relative’s child, often in very difficult circumstances. They have Kinship Carer support groups.
Newcastle Carers can offer information and support if you care for a child or young person who is ill, disabled, has mental health or has substance misuse problems.
What financial support is available to me?
If you care for a child or young person you may be able to claim Child Benefit.
If you are of working age and caring for a child you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
You might like to consider adoption. This is where you undergo a process to give a child a stable and permanent home.
Adopt North East support people through the process of adoption. You don’t have to adopt your kin to adopt though.
It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. Local independent advice services include:
- Citizens Advice Newcastle
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service – provide self help material on their website.
Visit newcastle.gov.uk for more benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
Other useful information
- Financial Issues for people bringing up a relative’s or friend’s child,
- Benefits for families on a low income – factsheets from Grandparents Plus
- Grandparent Issues
- Children’s Activities
- Drugs and Alcohol
Last updated: August 13, 2021