What is private fostering?
Private fostering may be an unfamiliar term to you, but refers to children cared for on a full-time basis by people who are not direct relatives. A private fostering arrangement is one that is made, without the involvement of a local authority, for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative for 28 days or more.
Private foster carers may be from the extended family, such as a cousin or great aunt, friends, neighbours or other people who do not have a close and direct family link. However, a person who is a relative such as a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt (whether of the full or half blood or by marriage) or step-parent, will not be a private foster carer.
A private fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made, without the involvement of a local authority, for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative for 28 days or more.
Examples of private fostering could be a child who is being looked after by a neighbour because the child’s single parent has been admitted to hospital. Alternatively, a teenager who has started living at his girlfriend’s family house and not returning home.
How you can help?
If you know of a child in this situation, the law says you must notify the local authority so they can make sure the person caring for the child can receive information, support and advice and that child is safe. Please call the MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) team team on 0121 788 4300 if you are caring for, or if you know anyone who is caring for someone else’s child.
A member of Solihull Children’s Services will contact the carer and clarify if the arrangement is private fostering. If it is, the worker will then assess suitability of the arrangement to ensure that any children are in a safe and suitable private fostering arrangement.
Children who are in such arrangements are some of the most vulnerable young people in our borough. It is therefore imperative that we can arrange for cases to be assessed as soon as possible, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all affected children.
More about private fostering
Our help guides provide more information about private fostering:
- quick guide
- guide for children
- guide for parents
- guide for private fosterers
- guide for professionals
You can also find further advice about private fostering at the CoramBAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy.