Friends and family care refers to the care provided to children whose parents are unable to look after them on a short or long-term basis. This could include care provided by other relatives, like grandparents, uncles, aunts or siblings or alternatively also by adults who have a connection to the child, such as neighbours or a close friend of the family.

Friends and family care may be a permanent arrangement which is sometimes formalised through a legal order or could be temporary and informal.

The connected persons and special guardianship team provide assessment, training and support of friends and family carers.

Types of friends and family care

Children who may be 

  • Living in informal/private family arrangements made by their birth parents with a close relative i.e grandparents, uncles, aunts or siblings.
  • Living with private foster carers (please visit the private fostering page for further information)
  • looked after by the local authority and placed with connected persons foster carers who will need to be fully approved as foster carers
  • on a Child Arrangement Order or Special Guardianship Order granted by the court
  • in arrangements which will progress to adoption by a relative or friend
  • living with testamentary guardians when a parent has died

Friends and family carers are also often referred to as kinship carers or connected persons carers.  Depending on the specific circumstances and arrangements, friends and family carers will have different rights, responsibilities and support available to them.

Benefits of friends and family care

It could provide children with –

  • stability without legally separating them from their birth parents
  • the chance to build a firm foundation for a permanent relationship
  • the opportunity to remain within their extended family network

Further information

If you want to know more about friends and family care or if you require any support and advice,please contact us on our dedicated duty phone number or complete our contact form.

Connected persons and special guardianship team

Monday to Friday, 9am – 4:30pm

Telephone: 020 8461 7193