Skip to main content
Caption: floating buttons
 
spacer_valid
View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership View East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership
spacer_valid 2
View Working Together View Working Together
Caption: main heading
 

10.1 Definition and Notification of a Child who is, or is going to be, Privately Fostered

Contents

  1. Definition of a Private Foster Child
  2. Notification of Arrangements
  3. Required Information for Notification
  4. Procedure in Relation to Private Fostering Arrangements


1. Definition of a Private Foster Child

  1. A private foster child is a child who has been placed, through a private arrangement by a parent, with a family, which is not related to the child. The child is privately fostered whether or not the parent makes payments to the carer.
  2. The following conditions must be satisfied for the placement to fall within the scope of the private fostering regulations:
    • The child is aged under 16 years, or in the case of a disabled child is under 18 years.
    • The child is being cared for and accommodated by a person other than:
      1. Parent
      2. Person with Parental Responsibility
      3. Close relative

    A close relative means a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or by civil partnership) or step-parent.

    • The child has been, or will be, cared for and accommodated by the person concerned for at least 28 days.
    • The child is not looked after by a local authority or on behalf of a voluntary organisation.
    • The child is not living in premises in which a parent, a person who has parental responsibility for the child, or a relative who has take on the care of the child, is living.
  3. There are a number of other circumstances in which a child is not considered to be a private foster child, including placements in an educational or health setting; and when the child is placed for adoption. Social Workers should refer to schedule 8 of the Act for more detailed information, and, if necessary, seek clarification from legal services.


2. Notification of Arrangements

  1. There is substantial evidence to suggest that the incidence of private fostering arrangements is significantly under-reported. This is a matter of considerable concern, since a local authority is unable to meet its duty to satisfy itself with regard to the welfare of this vulnerable group of children, unless it receives information about arrangements. All Children's Social Care staff working with children should, therefore, ensure that they are aware of the notification requirements, and be vigilant to the existence of arrangements, which may not have been reported.
  2. A proposal to foster a child privately must be notified to the local authority in whose area the fostering will take place. The following people all have a duty to notify the local authority:
    • Any person who proposes to, or is, privately fostering a child.
    • Any person who is, or proposes to be, involved in arranging for a child to be fostered privately.
    • A parent, and any other person with Parental Responsibility for the child.
  3. All notifications must be made not less than six weeks, or more than thirteen weeks, before the fostering arrangement begins; unless the placement is made in an emergency. If the placement is made in an emergency, the notification must be made no more than 48 hours after the placement is made.


3. Required Information for Notification

  1. A prospective or actual private foster parent must provide the following information in their notification at the outset of the arrangement:

    About the child:
    • Name and sex of the child
    • Date and place of birth of the child
    • Religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background of the child
    • The purpose and intended duration of the fostering arrangement
    • The name and address of:
      • Any parent of the child
      • Any person with Parental Responsibility for the child
      • Any person (if different) from whom the child is to be, or was received
      • ¬†Any other person who is, or was, involved either directly or indirectly in making the fostering arrangement
    • The intended, or actual, date of the beginning of the placement

About themselves:

  • Their name and address, and any previous address within the last five years Any offence against a child or involving injury or threat of injury to another person of which s/he has been convicted
  • Any disqualification or prohibition imposed on her/him under section 68 or 69 of the Children Act 1989, (or legislation which it replaced)
  • Any convictions held by, and disqualification and/or prohibitions imposed on, any other person living in, or employed at the same household.
  • Any Court Orders as a result of which a child has been removed from their care.
  • Any occasions when their child has been accommodated by a local authority.
  1. A person who is, or proposes to be, involved in arranging for a child to be fostered privately, a parent of the child and any other person with parental responsibility for the child must provide the following information in their notification:
    • Name and sex of the child
    • Date and place of birth of the child
    • Religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background of the child
    • The purpose and intended duration of the fostering arrangement
    • The arrangements for the care of any brother or sister of the child who is not to be included in the fostering arrangement
    • The name and address of any other person involved (whether or not directly) in the fostering arrangement

In addition, unless the person is a parent, or person with Parental Responsibility for the child, they must provide the following information.

  • Their relationship to the child
  • The name and address of:
    • Any parent of the child
    • Any person with Parental Responsibility for the child
    • Any person (if different) from whom the child is to be, or was received.
  1. Subsequent to a placement being made, a parent or person with parental responsibility for the child must notify the local authority of:
    • Any change in her/his address
    • The ending of the fostering arrangement.
  2. A person who privately fosters a child must also inform the local authority when the arrangement ceases, unless it is a temporary cessation of no more than 27 days. The notice must be given within 48 hours of the end of the placement, and must include the name and address of the person into whose care the child was received. In the event of the death of the child in placement the private foster parent must notify the local authority immediately, and also the person from whom the child was received
  3. All notifications must be in writing
  4. Failure to fulfil a duty to notify the local authority of a private fostering arrangement may constitute a criminal offence. The local authority may initiate proceedings within 6 months of becoming aware of the offence. The decision to commence proceedings will be made by the Strategic Development Manager in consultation with Legal Services.


4. Procedure in Relation to Private Fostering Arrangements

  1. The requirements with regard to the notification of private fostering arrangements must be publicised as widely as possible outside of the department. Leaflets are available to inform parents and carers of the legal requirements. District Teams should check that these are available at Customer Service Centres.
  2. The appropriate forms should be made available to people who have a duty to notify private fostering arrangements. If information is received of the existence of a private fostering arrangement, the appropriate forms and explanatory letter, should be sent out to those required to give notice, as follows:
    • Private Foster Parent
    • Parent/Person with Parental Responsibility
    • Other/Third Party
  3. On receipt of a notification, arrangements must be made to visit the parent or person with Parental Responsibility, the child and the private foster parent as soon as possible to:
    • Explain the legal requirement in relation to private foster care.
    • Check the information provided in the written notification, and obtain any relevant further information.
  4. If the notification concerns a child who is already being privately fostered, a visit must be made within 7 days of the receipt of the notification to the child and private foster parent.
  5. If a notification has been made by a person other than a parent or person with Parental Responsibility, prospective or actual private foster parent, the social worker should consider whether a visit should be made to that person to obtain further information.
  6. Where a notification is received concerning a child or parent/person with parental responsibility who is not presently living within reasonable travelling distance of East Riding of Yorkshire, contact should be made with the relevant local authority where they are living. It may be possible for that authority to undertake a visit on behalf of this council.
  7. If a private fostering arrangement comes to the notice of the Council, and it is apparent that the notification requirements have not been complied with, the Team Manager will discuss with the Area Manager and Legal Services whether legal proceedings should be instituted.
  8. When proceedings appear necessary a report must be submitted to the Strategic Development Manager with the Area Manager's and Legal Services' recommendations in respect of prosecution.

End