1. You must tell us if you are providing or about to provide private foster care:

  • At least six weeks before the arrangement begins.
  • Within 48 hours if it is an emergency.
  • Immediately if the child is already, or about start living with you.
  • But please don’t worry if you haven’t let us know yet, you can still let us know now.
  • This includes all existing short-term arrangements, which become more than 28 consecutive days for any reason.
  • To tell us you are providing or about to provide private foster care, phone us on 01803 208100.

2. To help you understand and take good care of the child, you will need information about the child from their parent(s) including:

  • Health conditions
  • School
  • Eating preferences
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Religious or cultural background

3. A social worker will spend time with the child, with you and any other people in the household to make an assessment on the child and how you can meet their needs.

  • The social worker will:
  • See the child on their own to ask their views on what help they may need.
  • Visit you and talk to you about the child’s needs and how you may meet them.
  • Meet all members of your household and get their views on the child living with you.
  • Discuss the arrangements with the child’s birth parent or legal guardian.
  • Write an assessment which will focus on the child and their needs and will include your household. You will get a copy of the assessment and be able to add your comments. The assessment will also be shared with the child’s parent or legal guardian.

4. We will make the following checks about you and people in your household:

  • Children’s Services records.
  • DBS (police check) to be completed by everyone aged over 18 in the household. If you or a member of your household have offences or are known to the police, this will not automatically stop you from being a private foster carer, but you should tell the social worker about this at the earliest opportunity so that this can be discussed with you.

5. After assessment and checks are completed, we will decide whether private foster care can take place, (or continue if you are already providing care):

  • You will be informed of this decision in writing.

6. If Private foster care is agreed:

  • A social worker will continue to be in contact with you and the child and visit the child every six weeks (every 12 weeks if the child lives with you longer than a year). It will be important that the child can speak to their social worker alone to talk through how things are going.
  • You must inform the social worker of certain changes. For example, if the child leaves your home permanently or if another adult moves into your home. You will receive a form explaining the changes you need to tell us about.
  • There will be monthly meetings called child in need meetings to ensure that the child is receiving all the support that he/ she needs to be safe, healthy, happy and attend school.
  • The child living with you must be registered with a GP and dentist and attend school.
  • You must inform the child’s school that you are privately fostering.
  • If you rent your home, you should inform your landlord or housing association.
  • If you have household insurance, you should let the insurance company know.
  • When the arrangement comes to an end, you must inform us within 48 hours.

7. If Private foster care is not agreed:

  • The social worker will work with the child, carer and parent or legal guardian to identify possible alternative safe care arrangements or support with a return home.

Tell us you are providing or about to provide private foster care, or your child is to be in private foster care on 01803 208100.