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Kinship care

Relatives and family friends can sometimes provide care for children because their parents are unable to do so.
Are you worried about the safety or welfare of a child?

If you think a child or young person may be in immediate danger, call 999. Otherwise contact us on 020 8314 6660 or out of hours call 020 8314 6000.

Sometimes birth parents are not able to provide care for their child, this responsibility is taken on by a family member such as a grandparent or sibling. 

If you are looking after a child of a relative. This may be on an informal or formal basis. It can be just for a short time to help out or it can be permanent. 

Sometimes, it is necessary for us to formalise the arrangement through a legal order, such as a Special Guardianship or by approving a kinship carer as a long-term or temporary-connected person's foster carer, depending on the child's needs. Every family's situation is different.   

If you are approved as a temporary connected persons foster carer, your name will be added to the fostering register. 

Other forms of friends and family care arrangements

When children are unable to live with their birth family, arrangements to live with family and friends is always the priority and the first choice that we want to make for children and young people.

In some circumstances, families make their own arrangements and ask someone in their network to step in and offer care.

If this arrangement is not a close relative and extends beyond 28 days, this then is a private fostering arrangement and the parents, the private foster carer and any other professional who is aware of this situation, must notify us via the MASH service, by emailing mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk or calling 020 8314 8018.

A close relative is defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/affinity).

In circumstances where the child cannot return to the birth parent’s care, the current carers can apply for a Special Guardianship Order, or a Child Arrangement Order (CAO) and will be encouraged to do so, if they are suitable to secure these longer-term arrangements, and this is in the best interests of the child or young person.