Family and friends carers (also known as kinship carers)

Family and friends carers are also sometimes known as kinship carers. They are people who bring a child that they already know, to live with them, often to stop the child going into care. They include grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles and family friends, but they could be anybody who is a relative or already knows the child.

There is a separate section of the website on Involving Families, where, if you are a family and friends carer or a practitioner working with such carers you can find out about latest research, practitioner tips and our campaigns and how to get involved with them.

This section of our website will provide you with help and advice if:

you are raising someone else’s child as a family and friends carer, or

you are thinking about raising someone else’s child as a family and friends carer, but the child is not living with you yet.

• The Information section will be useful if you are already a family and friends carer, or are thinking of becoming one. You can find out about:

- what the law says about your rights and responsibilities
- what legal orders you could apply for
- where to go for help and support
- helping children stay in touch with their parents.

• The section on Support Groups lists all the support groups for family and friends carers in the UK that we know about. You should be able to find whether there is a support group near you, using our map of the country. The page also tells you how we can assist if you want to set up your own support group. We provide a model constitution that we recommend support groups should use, and a policy on what to do if you hear something in a group that makes you worried about a child.

• The section on Sibling Carers tells you about the help and advice that we offer to people who are bringing up their younger brothers and sisters.

• You may wish to join our online discussion forum for family and friends carers, where you can learn from the experiences of other carers, and get advice from Suzie, our expert online adviser.