SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child's social network when a child cannot live with their parents.
- Kinship care can either be a statutory care arrangement, where a court has ordered it, or it can be a private arrangement agreed upon by the people involved.
- Kinship care is the preferred type of out-of-home care for children and young people in Victoria. It is the fastest-growing form of out-of-home care in Victoria.
- Kinship carers need different support to other types of out-of-home carers, due to their unique circumstances as relatives or close friends of both the parents and the child needing care.
- The Victorian Government funds kinship care services to improve the support available for children growing up in kinship care.
Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child's social network when a child cannot live with their parents. Kinship care can either be a statutory care arrangement, where a court has ordered it, or it can be a private arrangement agreed upon by the people involved.
Types of kinship care
Aboriginal kinship care
Aboriginal kinship care is care provided by relatives or friends to an Aboriginal child who cannot live with their parents, where Aboriginal family and community and Aboriginal culture are valued as central to the child’s safety, stability and development. There are Aboriginal kinship services operating in every department Division of the state.
Statutory kinship care
Statutory kinship placements occur when a Child Protection intervention has occurred, and a decision has been made to place a child with relatives or a significant friend. It may also involve an order made by the Children's Court.
Private, informal or non-statutory kinship care
Private, informal or non-statutory kinship care are terms that may be used to describe arrangements where children are cared for by relatives without any Child Protection intervention.
Training and support for kinship carers
Kinship Carers Victoria
- link individual kinship carers with other carers and support groups, self help and carer groups, and other relevant networks
- develop partnerships with organisations and stakeholders to best support kinship carers
- promote greater community awareness of kinship families, carers and children in kinship care in Victoria
- provide advice for Government, organisations and the community on behalf of Victorian kinship carers about improving supports available for children in kinship care.
Financial support for kinship carers
The Victorian Government provides a fortnightly care allowance payment to statutory kinship carers who have been assessed and approved by Child Protection. The fortnightly non-taxable allowance contributes to the costs of the child’s food, clothing and other expenses.
In addition to the care allowance, kinship carers may also be eligible for client support funding for extra-ordinary expenses. Kinship carers can access client support funding through Child Protection for the purpose of both placement and client support.
Other financial support is also available through the Victorian and Commonwealth Government for certain children and situations in kinship care, including for those families who are caring for a child with disability or a medical condition.
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Kinship care model
- identifies kinship networks earlier
- promotes placement quality and supports children and young people living in kinship care
- promotes placement stability
- strengthens reunification where appropriate
- builds community connections for Aboriginal children in kinship care
- delivers better, more flexible support.
As part of the kinship care model, there are dedicated kinship staff now working with children, young people, carers and families across Victoria. These kinship care workers are based in each of the Department's 17 areas across the state.
The kinship care teams are available to provide advice and support to kinship carers where there is current Child Protection involvement.
Carer KaFÉ provides free learning and development opportunities to statutory kinship carers, accredited foster carers and permanent carers across Victoria. Delivered by expert trainers and based upon principles of therapeutic care, trauma, healing, and connection to culture, Carer KaFÉ ensures there are many valuable opportunities for those just starting their caring journey, to carers with years of experience.
Care Support Help Desk
The Care Support Help Desk is available for new and existing kinship and foster carers where there is Child Protection involvement.
The Care Support Help Desk provides a range of supports, including ensuring carers have critical documents they need when starting a care placement. The team also help existing foster and kinship carers to track vital documents for children in care.
Care Support Help Desk contacts
The Care Support Help Desk team are available via phone during business hours, 9 am to 5 pm: