Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities

A child is born. Mother has full parental responsibilities and rights.

Father has responsibilities and rights if:

  1. He is married to the mother
  2. He is named on the child’s birth certificate (since 4 May 2006)
  3. Mother can grant rights to father through Parental Responsibilities and Parental Rights Agreement
  4. The father can apply to be granted parental responsibilities and rights
  • Both have a legal responsibility to keep the child safe and promote their health, development and welfare through direction and guidance
  • They act as the child’s legal representative

Your rights as an informal kinship carer

If an agreement has been made between you and the parents:

  • The parents retain full legal responsibilities and rights of the child
  • You as a carer have a duty to safeguard and promote the health and development of the child’s welfare through direction and guidance
  • You are entitled to support and guidance from the Local Authority in your area

Potential Problems

  • A parent must consent to any decisions you wish to make and so can intervene at any time.
  • You cannot make major decisions about the child’s health, schooling or travel
  • A parent can return at any time and demand the return of the child
  • You as a carer will not have rights to attend meetings about the child’s welfare

If and when a child is ill and may need to go into hospital, carers need to be aware of the healthcare rights, needs and issues relating to the child in their care. Please visit Children’s Health Scotland for further information.


  • If the child is not going to return to the parents you may apply for some parental responsibilities and rights at Court through a Section 11 (1) Order, now also known as a Kinship Care Order. You can contact your Local Authority or support services listed in section 5 for advice/support.

The child’s views should be sought at all times. You can contact your Local Authority for advice and support.

For more help with your Legal Rights and Responsibilities visit