WHAT IS PRIVATE FOSTERING?
Private fostering is when:
- You ask someone else to look after your child full-time for more than 28 days
- You are thinking of looking after someone else’s child full-time, or are presently doing so, for more than 28 days and most importantly
- You are not closely related (Aunt, Uncle, brother, sister, grandparent, etc) to the child or a step parent
If you fit into one of the categories above you are private fostering and ‘The Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005’ state that you MUST inform us of any such arrangement.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you are a parent, you must tell us if:
- Your child is under 16 (18 if disabled); and
- She/he is going to stay with a carer for more than 28 days; and
- The carer is not a close relative and/of does not have parental responsibility from the Court.
You need not tell us if:
- Your child will be away from you for less than 28 days;
- She/he is in a residential home, boarding school or hospital;
- She/he has been placed with approved foster carers of adopters by a local council.
If you are looking after someone else’s child, you must tell us if:
- You are looking after someone else’s child, or are planning to; and
- You are not a close relative; or
- You do not have parental responsibility; and
- The child will be with you more than 28 days; but not
- If the child is placed by the local council.
Who else needs to tell us?
- Anyone who is looking after someone else’s child (not closely related to them) as a private foster carer;
- Anyone else who is involved in making the arrangements;
- The other parent or anyone else who has been given parental responsibility by the Court, who knows about the arrangement.
When do you need to tell the council?
- at least 6 weeks before the arrangement is to begin;
- if the arrangement is to commence within 6 weeks, immediately;
- if the child is already with you immediately.
Why is this necessary?
Privately fostered children need to be protected from possible harm and need to be looked after as well as if they were with approved foster carers. North East Lincolnshire Council must check that private foster carers are suitable to do the job. This means that we must:
- carry out checks to make sure that children are protected;
- check that accommodation is safe and suitable.
A social worker will be asked to visit regularly to see the child and try to make sure that the carer receives any necessary help. They will also keep in touch with the parents to offer help and advice. This is because the child’s parents continue to be responsible for them.
We can also help the parent and carer make clear arrangements for decisions about things like medical treatment, education and contact with family members.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
When you have been in touch with us, then a social worker will contact you to explain what needs to happen and arrange a visit.
If you would like any further information please access the private fostering leaflet or contact the Children’s Assessment and Safeguarding Service using the contact details provided.
You can also access the Children Living Away from Home with Other Families procedure for further guidence.