Currently there is a private members bill that is being considered by the House of Commons, which may give kinship carers the ability to acquire Parental Responsibility for children in their care without having to issue court proceedings.
There are hundreds of thousands of kinship carers in the UK that are currently responsible for the care and upbringing of children, who are unable to be cared for by their parents for numerous reasons. These include both relatives to the children and family friends.
If the bill is passed then it will entitle kinship carers to obtain Parental Responsibility, which means they will have rights, duties and obligations towards the child in their care. In reality this means that they will have the responsibility for taking all of the important decisions in the child’s life. For example, they will have the ability to sign medical consent forms for any medical treatment required for the child, have a say in the child’s religious upbringing and also their education.
Prior to this bill if the carer was not the parent of the child, then they could only acquire parental responsibility by making an application to court. Even then there could be a further hurdle as they may need to seek the court’s permission to even apply for parental responsibility in the first case.
So watch this space for further details on the outcome and for any advice on who has parental responsibility for a child and who hasn’t and how it can be acquired, then please contact either myself or a member of the family department at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0808 175 8000.