Private fostering - make sure you know the law!

Does someone else’s child live with you, or are you considering this? Is your child living with someone else? If either of these are the case you may be part of a Private Fostering arrangement and you need to make the Council aware.
Private fostering is very different from the care of children provided by the Council or independent foster agencies through approved foster carers. It happens when a child under 16 years old - or under 18 if the child has a disability - is cared for full-time by an adult who is not a relative and provided with accommodation for more than 28 days.
Common private fostering situations can include -
• Children living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home.
• Children whose parents’ study or work involves unsuitable hours that make it difficult for them to use ordinary day-care or after-school care.
• Teenagers living with the family of a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend.
• Children sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents from overseas.
• Asylum seeking and refugee children.
• Children living with host families for a variety of reasons.
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Philip Read said; “This isn’t a case of the Council being ‘big brother’ - it is so that we know children in our borough are cared for and safe. Private fostering can work well, but there are some children and young people that can be left vulnerable when they are part of a private fostering arrangement. The tragic death of Victoria Climbie in 2000 evidences this fact.
“The law states that each local authority Children’s Service has a duty to ensure that the arrangement of privately fostered children is suitable, that children are safeguarded, that their welfare is promoted and that the child’s wishes and feelings are being considered.”
If you are part of a private fostering arrangement, know someone who may be, or would like to know more, contact Bexley’s Children’s Social Care on 020 8303 7777 for advice. Our lead officer is Adrian Duffy.