They are the grandparents, aunts and uncles who care for children affected by parental drug or alcohol abuse, neglect or bereavement.
Charities say they save the Scottish Government hundreds of millions every year but face significant disparities across local authorities in financial support and compared to foster carers.
According to official figures, Kinship Carers are currently looking after at least 10,742 of Scotland's most disadvantaged children.
A parliamentary event has been organised by the Glasgow-based Poverty Truth Commission to highlight their plight with the backing of Johann Lamont MSP.
Some kinship carers are paid child benefit but others are not and some also receive allowances paid by councils.
The amounts vary from area to area and also according to whether children are in informal arrangements, officially designated as "looked after" or placed as a result of a court order.
One carer from Glasgow said: "I became a kinship carer 11 years ago when my wife and I brought our granddaughter home from hospital to care for her.
"We had both retired and had no money to fall back on and nobody to help us."
The Children and Young People Bill currently passing through Holyrood proposes to address some of the shortcomings in the current support provided. However charities say without effective resources real change is unlikely.