Family and friend carers may be entitled to child benefit, child tax credit or other financial help.

If you want to claim Child Benefit, you'll need talk to the parents of the child, because only one person can get Child Benefit for the child.

You can get help from Citizens Advice Bristol.

Find out more about children and family benefits.

Child in Need payments

Where a child is cared for informally or in a private fostering arrangement, we can make Child In Need payments.

We'll assess the needs of the child and your financial circumstances.

The three types of payment are:

  • a one off payment for items like a school uniform or bedroom furniture
  • short term financial support if you take unpaid time off work or a career break to support the child in their new environment
  • regular payments for an agreed number of weeks until more permanent arrangements are made, so you can continue to care for a child in the longer term

Payments are paid to the carer, not the parents.

Allowances for foster carers

Family and friend foster carers get the same allowances as other foster carers.

Child arrangements order allowance

Talk to your social worker to find out if you can get this allowance.

Special Guardianship Allowance

You may be entitled to an allowance in line with the  pdf Bristol Special Guardianshop Order (SGO) Policy (285 KB) following an assessment of the child's needs and a financial assessment. This can be paid until the child is 18 years of age. Advice and consultation is available to Special Guardians to support access to benefits which they may be entitled to including child benefit and tax credits. Please contact the Special Guardianship Support Service for further information on 0117 357 6319 or

Guardian allowance

The Guardian's Allowance is a benefit paid to someone who is looking after a child whose parents have died. In some circumstances it can be paid when only one parent has died. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how much you earn.

Private child maintenance arrangement

You can arrange child maintenance privately with the child's parents. If this can't be agreed, contact the Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency (CSA).

Residence or special guardianship orders

If youre applying for residence or special guardianship orders, you may be able to get financial help for legal fees. You'll be assessed to see if this applies to you.

Parental leave

Your employer should provide information about relevant parental leave entitlements. If you're adopting, you might be eligible for statutory adoption leave or shared parental leave.