Raising awareness of private fostering

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Working to raise awareness with parents, carers and professionals about private fostering arrangements and ask everyone to make sure that they are is properly reported.

Dear Colleague

Raising awareness of private fostering

We want to raise awareness with parents, carers and professionals about private fostering arrangements and ask everyone to make sure that they are is properly reported. As part of this I want to share with you the new guidance for professionals which is attached, and a useful briefing document on private fostering.

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way in which some families in our district care for children and young people. Some may have entered in to what is known as a private fostering arrangement without realising what action they need to take. 

The law states that a private fostering arrangement happens when:

  • If a person is caring for somebody else's child and is not a close relative of the child. A close relative is a legal guardian, grandparent, uncle, auntie, brother, sister.
  • Where the arrangement is expected to last more than 28 days.
  • Where the child or young person is under the age of 16, or 18 if the young person has a disability.

As a local authority, we have a legal duty to make sure we know about children and young people in these types of arrangements. This is because they are potentially vulnerable as they are not living with their parents.

The law around private fostering was strengthened following the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report. Victoria Climbie was a child who was abused and murdered after being placed with her father's great aunt.  This arrangement would have been considered as private fostering.

Private fostering is significantly under reported in the UK. We all need to make sure that in our district it is about making sure people report it if they believe they may be in a private fostering arrangement. This will allow our social care teams to assess and identify any support these children may need.

Action people should take includes:

Parents and carers must let the Council know if they are setting up a private fostering arrangement six weeks in advance, or as soon as possible if arrangements are made in an emergency. Parents retain parental responsibility for the child or young person, including financial responsibility, so they must ensure the arrangement is suitable and that the carer has all the information they need to care for the child.

Private foster carers must contact the Council six weeks in advance, or as soon as possible if arrangements are made in an emergency. This will enable essential welfare checks to take place to make sure that the child or young person receives the right support.

Young people if you are a young person and you think you may be in a private fostering arrangement, you can contact children’s services for help and advice.

Teachers, health and other professionals must contact the Council about a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention if they don’t think the arrangement has been or will be reported.

Members of the public should contact the Council if they are aware or suspect that a child is living in a private fostering arrangement that hasn’t been reported to the Council.

Our children’s services teams can advise anyone who has a concern about private fostering about what they need to do.

To report a private fostering arrangement contact Bradford children’s services on  01274 435600 or email childrens.enquiries@bradford.gov.uk.

More information is available on our private fostering web pages

Yours sincerely

Mark Douglas

Strategic Director of Children's Services

 

Partner's Seven Minute Briefing

Private fostering - guidance for professionals

 

 


Information

Published: 26/02/2021
Audience: Everyone
Contact: Lisa Turner

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