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Types of relative and kinship care

Court ordered relative and kinship care

Formal relative and kinship care is when a care order or parenting order is made by the Family Court of Australia or Federal Magistrates Court under the Family Law Act 1975, or by the NSW Children’s Court under the Care and Protection Act. A parenting order is issued when DCJ has intervened in the proceedings of the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.

Relative and kinship carers may apply for Federal Government benefits such as the means tested Family Tax Benefits. With a care order or a parenting order, relative and kinship carers may be eligible to receive the Supported Care Allowance from Communities and Jusitce (DCJ) when DCJwas a party to the federal court proceedings.

NSW Care Orders

Children and young people at risk of significant harm may be removed from their birth parents and placed into the care of relatives or kin by DCJ. When this happens, DCJcan make a care application in the Children’s Court.

If the court then makes a care order, DCJ is responsible for supporting the relative or kinship carer by developing a care plan for the child or young person, and providing case management.

The Federal Government is primarily responsible for providing income support to carers. However, in NSW authorised relative and kinship carers allocated some or all aspects of parental responsibility receive the Supported Care Allowance - a non-taxable, non-means tested allowance to help them raise the children.

Informal relative and kinship care

An informal relative or kinship arrangement is an agreement with the child’s family about caring for the child, without a court order. These arrangements are often verbal. The child’s parents are still the legal guardians so they have parental responsibility. In an informal agreement, there are limits to the decisions a relative or kinship carer, such as a grandparent, can make without the parent’s consent.

Financial support for informal relative and kinship arrangements are not available from DCJ. The supported care allowance is only payable where there is a court order in place.

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Last updated: 18 Oct 2019