Some people think that Private Fostering is when you foster a child for an Independent Fostering Agency. It isn't.
Private Fostering is when a child or young person under 16 years old, or 18 years old if they have a disability, is looked after for 28 days or more by another adult.
If you are a great grand-parent, great uncle/aunt, friend or neighbour of that child, then you may be a Private Foster Carer. Close relatives such a parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters are not deemed as Private Foster Carers.
Private Fostering arrangements could be set up due to factors such as children coming from abroad for education or healthcare, children living with a friend's family after separation, divorce or arguments at home or teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend. It does not include children on weekend or holiday visits.
For further information you can watch a short video on the Somebody else's child website.
If you are making private fostering arrangements you must tell the Council of your plans, at least six weeks before your child goes to live with private foster parents. We have a duty to oversee the arrangements to promote the welfare of the child or young person to ensure they are protected. It is important that the carer has a good understanding of the child or young person's needs.
We have a legal duty under the 1989 Children Act to safeguard the well-being of privately fostered children and to ensure they are:
- safe and well looked after
- receiving a proper education
- being encouraged to reach their full potential
- keeping in touch with people who are important to them
- living with someone who helps them value their culture and sense of identity
- properly supported when they become independent
If the child is already living in these arrangements please contact us immediately on 01952 385385. It is an offence not to notify children's services - you could be risking a fine.
Despite this, many private fostering arrangements remain hidden, leaving children vulnerable to abuse and neglect. This was highlighted by the tragic death of privately fostered child, Victoria Climbie.
If you would like more advice or to talk direct to a Social Worker please call 01952 385385.
You can also contact our Family Connect service on 01952 385385 for more details.
For more information read our brochure.