New guidance been launched to help people across Scotland who care for the child of a relative or friend, after the vast majority (88%) of kinship carers said they were not given enough information about how to access vital financial and emotional support.*  The booklet, titled What Now? is being published during Kinship Care Week (14th-18th March).


The booklet contains all the information kinship carers need to ensure they get the support to which they may be entitled. It also includes a glossary explaining key terms, a guide to the kinship assessment system, and contact details of organisations and support groups who can offer help and advice to carers. It has been produced by the Kinship Care Advice Service Scotland (KCASS), which is operated by Adoption UK Scotland and Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland, in collaboration with the Child Poverty Action Group.


Since 2010, there has been a significant increase across Scotland in the number of children being cared for by family member or friend because they are unable to live with their birth parents, an arrangement known as kinship care. The latest Scottish Government statistics show there were 4,456 children formally looked after in kinship care in 2019-20, (31% of the looked after population), compared to 3,172 children in 2009-2010 (20% of the looked after population).**  


Susan Hunter, KCASS project coordinator, said: “All too often kinship carers have taken on the care of children at short notice with no understanding of what this will entail for them and their family.  

They describe feeling overwhelmed and very much alone. Where they have been provided with information, they have found this to be difficult to comprehend with terms they are not familiar with.” 


Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said: “All kinship carers deserve to get the support they need, and I welcome publication of the What Now? booklet, which will help kinship carers access important information. I would like to thank members of the KCASS Advisory Group who ensured the voices of those with care experience were heard when the booklet was developed.” 


Fiona Aitken, director, Adoption UK Scotland, said: “We’re proud to be facilitating Kinship Care Week as an opportunity for us to raise the profile of the carers who tirelessly provide loving homes for their children. The week allows us to provide valuable opportunities for children in kinship families to take part in fun activities, workshops and group sessions for carers and learning and networking events for practitioners, encouraging all Scottish kinship care families, and those who support them, to take part.” 


Robin Duncan, Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland director, said: “Kinship Care Week is a great opportunity to increase awareness of kinship care and give recognition to the carers for the remarkable, and often unsung, contribution they make. It also gives us the chance to spread the word about the new What Now? booklet so that this can be as widely available as possible helping to improve the availability and consistency of support to people when they take on the care of a child.” 


This year’s Kinship Care Week takes place from March 14-18 and features a range of webinars and discussion groups for carers, social workers, and childcare professionals. A full programme of events can be found at 


Kinship carers or professionals can order a copy of What Now? by contacting KCASS at [email protected], or by calling 0808 800 0006. A pdf of the booklet is available to download here: