Caring for young relatives – Family or friend (kinship) carers
What is family, friend or kinship care?
Family or friend care, also known as 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.
Emotional and practical support for 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 carers.
Newcastle City Council Family and Friends Carers Team give advice and guidance to family and friends carers in your caring role. Phone 0191 277 2430 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or email CorporateParentingAdmin@newcastle.gov.uk.
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.
Kinship (previously known as Grandparents plus) offer support to grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and family friends who step up to raise children when their parents can’t. They have an information and advice service and peer support. Email, call or connect with them on Facebook.
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.
Barnardo’s offer counselling and support services. They can help with:
- parenting advice
- mental health
- family stress or break-down
- back to school
- barriers to accessing and using services
- Wellness Recovery project for woman and children who have been victims of, and affected by, domestic abuse and sexual violence
- Newcastle Young People’s Support Team
- Young Dads Work, an early intervention and prevention service to young dads and parents and children at risk of entering the safeguarding or looked after arena
- Boloh a free telephone helpline and web chat for adult asylum seekers or a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic parents or carers. Their advisors speak English, Urdu and Hindi. They provide advice, signposting and emotional support. They can help with advice about respiratory problems and Hong Kong nationals settling in the UK.
The Lifting Neighbourhoods Together project has a kinship carers support group in Walker
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).
Kinship has more information about Financial Issues you may be facing as the carer bringing up a relative’s or friend’s child
Child maintenance is paid to cover the living costs of a child that you care for. It’s usually paid to the person the child lives with and carries out most of the day to day care. The parent (or parents) who doesn’t live with the child usually pays child maintenance.
Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is a government service for separated parents to make financial arrangements for their children. Both parents are responsible for paying for your child’s living costs, even if they don’t live with or see their child. The website explains your options and includes information about family-based arrangements. The CMS can:
- work out how much each parent pays
- arrange payments and take action if a parent does not pay
- sort out disagreements about parentage
- try to find the other parent if you do not know where they are
- keep your location and personal information private, for example, if you’ve experienced domestic abuse or controlling behaviour.
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. They have self help material on their website.
Visit newcastle.gov.uk for more benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
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.
Children and young people’s information
When caring for babies, children or young people you may find these pages on InformationNOW useful:
- Children’s health read more on common illnesses, vaccinations and health services in Newcastle
- Children’s activities find out more about places to go to help keep little ones entertained
- Sexual health read more about free support services for young people
You can also find more childrens information on Newcastle Support Directory
Support is available if the parent who can no longer care for their child has addiction problems. These pages on InformationNOW may be useful
Family and relationship support
There are services that can offer mediation, counselling and support if there has been a family breakdown. Read more on InformationNOW:
Am I a carer?
If you look after an adult without being paid, for example a friend or relative who couldn’t manage without your support then you are a carer. There is support available in Newcastle for carers.
Last updated: December 5, 2023