Is your child living with another family?
Are you looking after someone else's child?
If so, this may be a 'private fostering' arrangement.
'Private fostering' is when a child or young person under 16 years old (or 18 if they have a disability) is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who is not a close relative, guardian or person with parental responsibility (parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents).
So, a private foster carer could be extended family such as a great aunt or uncle, cousins or a family friend, or even a previous partner of the child's mother or father.
It is not private fostering if Caerphilly County Borough Council made the arrangement, or if the person looking after the child is an approved foster carer.
Examples of private fostering are:
- children who have moved in with a friends family
- children who have moved in with a girlfriend or boyfriends family
- children with parents overseas
- children living with host families for a variety of reasons
- refugee or displaced children
If you are unsure if your situation is a private fostering arrangement, or you would like more information on private fostering please contact Sarah Hodge on 01495 233248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it.
If you are a parent of a child who needs to enter a private fostering arrangement or are planning to look after a child for more that 28 days, you need to notify the council in writing of your intentions as soon as possible. Please address any correspondance to Sarah Hodge, Private Fostering Officer, Fostering Team, Unit 3, Foxes Lane, Oakdale Business Park, Oakdale, NP12 4AB, or email email@example.com. If the arrangements are already in place, then please let us know as soon as you can.
The council has a duty to ensure the welfare of children looked after under private fostering arrangements is protected. So we need to know of any private fostering arrangements so that we can fulfil our duties.
What happens once the council has been notified?
Although it is a private arrangement, under the Children Act 2004 Caerphilly Council has certain duties and responsibilities to ensure that the children who are privately fostered are protected. It is our job to check that these regulations are being observed. Our aim is to ensure that all private foster arrangements benefit children and those who plan to look after them.
It isn't our intention to stop private fostering arrangements if they are working well, but we do need to make sure they are in the best interests of the child.
To do this we will:
- Give you support and advice about why we need to be involved
- Undertake an assessment to ensure the arrangement is in the child's best interests
- Make sure everyone has all the information needed
- Check that your home is safe
- Visit you and the child regularly to make sure that all is going well
- Check that everyone in your household are suitable to look after the child
It is important that you tell us about of these arrangements, as we are here to help and support you, there may even be the possibility of financial assistance.
Following the Inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie, the Government strengthened the way children are identified and supported in private fostering arrangements. New statutory regulations, guidance and national minimum standards were implemented in July 2005. There is therefore now a legal requirement for anyone to advise the council of any private fostering arrangement that they know of.
What are the benefits of telling the council?
- Private foster carers will receive support and advice to make sure the child's educational, cultural and physical needs are being met.
- We will provide private foster carers with information which will help them understand their rights.
- Children and young people will have access to support and information which will help them to understand what the private fostering arrangement means.
- Parents will receive advice and information about setting up and maintaining the private fostering arrangement.
Please remember that we are here to help you as much as we can while you are caring for someone elses child.