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What is family and friends care?

A child is considered to be cared for by 'family and friends' when they live with a relative or other connected person, instead of their birth parents or step-parent. We also call this a 'kinship arrangement' or 'kinship care.'

There are a variety of reasons why children may not live with their parents: parental working arrangements; parental ill health; change in family circumstances including family breakdowns; educational opportunities for the child such as staying with a host family while attending a language school; concerns about the parents' ability to care appropriately for the child; a child who was adopted in another country - where the adoption is not legally recognised in the UK; are to name a few.

A child may have come to live with you in a time of crisis for the family which may also be a very difficult time for you as part of that family, or as a person connected to that family.

Family and friends care can fall under several different legal categories. One main distinction in legal terms is how the child came to live with you. Either:

  • The child's parents have asked you to look after the child


  • Children's services have asked you to look after the child