Yet another reminder that kinship carers are entitled to equality of treatment when compared other types of foster carers – the Local Government Ombudsman has just published a report [link updated 03/03/11] relating to an instance of discriminatory treatment by way of a refusal to make the same payments available to kinship carers as were available to other foster carers. The Ombudsman found this to be maladministration and has published a report as he considers the issue to be one of the public interest.
This is something which frequently crops up on the margins of what we do at court, and often slips through the net. Kinship placements should be properly supported and often financial assistance is vital to ensuring that a placement does not fail. Most kinship carers are not legally represented and do not know what they are entitled to so it is often left to the parents legal representatives or the Guardian to remind the local authority of its obligations to help out with money in order to ensure that even if the child can’t be with the parent, they can remain securely placed with the wider family.
.UPDATE – yet another example of a local authority being caught out paying less than it ought.