If another person's child lives with you then you could be a private foster carer. If you are already one, you must let us know.
- asking for someone else to look after your child full time for more than 28 days
- thinking of looking after someone else's child full time, or are presently doing so, for more than 28 days and
- not closely related to the child?
You are making a Private Foster Care Arrangement. The Children Act 1989 requires you to tell your local council. You can do this by telephoning the Children & Learning Department and discussing your situation with a social worker from the Initial Assessment Team.
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 the 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 the carer, you must tell us if
- you are looking after someone else's child, or are planning to and you
- are not a close relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle) or
- you do not have parental responsibility and
- the child has been/will be with you for 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 was 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?
- not less than 6 weeks and not more than 12 weeks before the child goes to live with the new carers, except
- in an emergency, when you should tell us within 48 hours or
- if the child is already with a private foster carer and this arrangement is not known to the council, then you should notify the council straight away.
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. The local authority must check that private foster carers are suitable people to do the job. This means that we must
- carry out checks (with the carer's permission) with people such as the Police, GP and referees who know them well. This is to make sure that children are protected from carers who have harmed someone in the past.
- 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 the Initial Assessment Team, then a social worker will contact you to explain what needs to happen and to arrange a visit.
Monday - Thursday 8.45a.m. - 5.20p.m.
Friday 8.45a.m. - 4.30p.m.