Special guardianship orders should not be used to further restrict access to services and financial support for kin carers, a study has warned.
The government-commissioned report said that, despite suffering more financial hardship, many kin carers are paid less than unrelated foster carers.
They are more likely to receive little or no social work support, have no family placement worker and no access to training.
The report suggests this has come about because kin carers are often encouraged to apply for residence orders. Under the orders, social work visits cease and payments become lower and discretionary.
It warns that special guardianship orders could similarly be used by local authorities to restrict services for kin carers.
The new orders, introduced in December 2005, give the carer responsibility for all aspects of caring for the child.
Kirklees Council is already facing a possible legal challenge over its decision to offer rates to special guardians that are two-thirds of the level of equivalent fostering allowances.