People who are privately fostering or whose own child is being privately fostered, may not be aware they are legally required to notify a local authority and be assessed. While we will not look to take legal action, we must ensure the child and their environment is safe.
Everyone who works with children and families, for example teachers, emergency services and children’s health workers, has a shared legal responsibility to ensure that all privately fostered children are well cared for and are safe. Professionals have a safeguarding duty to notify the local authority of private foster care arrangements you know, or think are happening without local authority assessment.
When completing forms with and meeting children, young people and their families, we should all ask questions about who lives in the household and who has parental responsibility. This can help in identifying a private foster care arrangement.
Other partners and organisations that work with children and families are asked to help us ensure privately fostered children are well cared for and safe. You can:
- Let people you work with know about private foster care.
- Encourage people to contact us if they are thinking about private foster care.
- Tell us about private foster care arrangements you know, or think are happening without local authority assessment. Your contact with us can be treated as confidential and to protect the child’s right to confidentiality, we cannot inform you of the outcome but be assured the child’s safety and wellbeing is our first priority.
What we will do
We will identify whether the arrangement has been assessed by us, and if not, we will spend time with the child, the birth parent/ legal guardian and private foster carers to make an assessment on the child and how their needs are being met.
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