Information for kinship carers
As a Kinship Carer, it is likely that you have a child or young person in your care, because they are subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order, which was put in place by a Children’s Hearing.
Sometimes, but not always, children and young people will have already been placed in to care with family members or close family friends prior to a Children’s Hearing, because there are concerns about that child or young person remaining at home with their immediate family.
There will be a Children’s Hearing for the child or young person at least once per year while the Compulsory Supervision Order remains in place.
Having your say
As a Kinship Carer, the Hearing may want to hear your views and the chairing Panel Member may allow you to attend. If you have information which you want the Children’s Hearing to consider, you can provide this to the Reporter in advance of the Hearing, and the Reporter will include the information in the Hearing papers if the Reporter considers it is relevant to the proceedings. You should give this information to the Reporter no later than four days before the Hearing.
If you attend the Children’s Hearing, you can express your views at the Hearing and let the Panel Members know if you have any concerns or worries about the child/young person in your care.
If you are a ‘Relevant Person’, you have a right to provide information for consideration by the Hearing. You should give this information to the Reporter no later than four days before the Hearing. You also have a right to receive the Hearing papers, to attend the Hearing and to appeal against the decision of the Children’s Hearing (within 21 days).
Children and Young People’s Rights
It is also important that Kinship Carers are aware of children and young people’s rights before, during and after a Children’s Hearing. This will help children and young people feel more secure and prepared for their Hearing.
Children and young people have the right to:
- Provide information for consideration by the Hearing
- Receive the Hearing papers;
- Attend the Hearing (and they have an obligation to do so unless excused);
- Bring a representative and/or a lawyer in to the Hearing with them;
- Express their views and have their views taken into account;
- Appeal against the decision of the Children’s Hearing (within 21 days);
- Request another Hearing which can take place three months after the last Hearing
(if a Compulsory Supervision Order is made, varied or continued).
At the Hearing, children and young people may also:
- Ask to speak to the Panel Members on their own
- Ask the Hearing to see them separately from their parents or others if they do not wish to have contact with them
- Ask for the Hearing to stop for a while so they can have a break to speak to their representative or lawyer
- Ask for the Hearing to be deferred to another date (for example, if they need more information or time to prepare)
If you have any questions about how best to support a child or young person attending a Hearing, you may contact the Children’s Reporter and he or she will be happy to help. Remember, you can also ask the Reporter for a Pre-Hearing visit and get a Pre-Hearing information pack.
Further advice and information
The following websites offer kinship carers further useful advice, support and information:
The Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland is the national service for kinship care support information. They have a helpful booklet available with lots of information about supports for kinship carers.
Children 1st also offers support, information and advice to kinship carers.