Myth: A non-looked after child living in a kinship care arrangement does not have the same rights to additional support for learning as a looked after child.

Under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 (the ASL Act) children and young people who are ‘looked after’ are presumed to have additional support needs. This is the case unless the education authority assesses them and decides they do not. The term ‘looked after’ used in the ASL Act is based on the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. It covers children looked after at home and children looked after away from home and includes those looked after children living in a kinship care arrangement.

Not all children cared for by kinship carers are looked after children. However, that does not mean that their entitlement to access additional support for learning is any less than that of a looked after child. The only difference is that a looked after child is automatically presumed to have an ASL need while a non-looked after child is not and their parent or carer will need to ask for that child to be assessed.

This means that regardless of a child’s legal status, if a carer is concerned about a child’s education they have a right to ask the education authority to establish whether that child has an additional support need under the ASL Act.

If it is decided that a non-looked after kinship care child has additional support needs, then the education authority has a duty to provide adequate and efficient support to meet their needs in exactly the same way as they are required to do for a looked after child.

If you would like further information on additional support for learning entitlement you can contact the Enquire Helpline on 0345 123 2303.

For kinship care support, advice and information you can contact the Citizens Advice Scotland Kinship Care Helpline on 0808 800 0006 or the Children 1st National Kinship Care Service on 08000 28 22 33.

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