All Local Authorities have a mandatory obligation to consider using the kincare clause by placing a child or Children with an immediate Family Member such as Grandparents,Aunties, Uncles or even a close Friend, , when being taken into care, and before Foster Care is even considered, but in most cases Foster Care seems to be the preferred route, costing millions of pounds at the Taxpayers expense.
Grandparents willing to take on the Kincare or Special Guardianship Role,may be entitled to means tested Legal Aid, and can be brought into Public Law Care Proceedings, but if they are slightly above the financial threshold may have to look for Pro Bono Legal Representation, as in a Mackenzie Friend, or Solicitor that is willing to represent them for nothing.
Decent Mackenzie Friends with Family Law experience is very few and far between,and they may be forced to represent themselves as Litigant in Person,
Family Law Practice Protocol is very diverse,and new Practice Policy comes out every day of the week,so they would in most cases give up in the first instance.
For those Family Members, who are slightly about the legal threshold for legal aid, would be forced to use their savings to get legal representation, which becomes very costly and depletes their financial status tenfold.
Family Members that take on a Special Guardianship, or Kincare Role, are left to care for Children on the basics of their finances, where foster carers can earn up to 700 pounds per week for each Child fostered via private foster care agencies, and more than 400 pounds per week for each child fostered by the LA, both very nice little earners.
The lack of money , while looking after children via a Special Guardianship order, or the kincare clause can lead to placement breakdown, some Grandparents can hardly feed themselves in this time of austerity , let alone feed the children, thus more trauma for the child, who would be taken from Grandparents and placed into foster care,
LA are very happy to pay foster carers large amounts of money, but will not support Grandparents financially to keep children within the Family environment, less stress for them..
A Children's Panel Solicitor Nigel Priestley at Ridley and Hall Solicitors has been very successful within the High Court Family Division in getting the same amount of money that Foster carers get,for Grandparents and other Family members taking on the Special Guardianship and kincare role.
Nigel has also won many awards for his work.
PAIN, would always advise Parents to put in a written request to The Social Worker, stating that if they are considering using foster care, when children are taken into care, they may wish for a Family member to take on the temporary caring role, and get that family member to speak to the Social Worker prior to care proceedings being instigated, or even in cases when the LA, are considering going for an emergency protection order.
I have had cases where family friends have taken on the immediate care of a Child when an emergency protection order has been granted.
All Family Members taking on these Roles will of course have to be assessed by Social Services and have to be DBS, checked.
Nigel Priestley Children's Panel Solicitor can be contacted via this link. https://www.ridleyhall.co.uk/profiles/priestley/