Private Fostering - Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. WHAT IS PRIVATE FOSTERING?
Private fostering is when parents cannot undertake the day to day care of their children and arrange for someone, who is not a close relative, to look after them for more than 28 days.
Q2. WHAT CHILDREN ARE PRIVATELY FOSTERED?
Children, who are aged 0 to 16 years or 0 to 18 years, if disabled, can be privately fostered and may fit the following description:
- Children of overseas students
- Teenagers who are temporarily away from their families
- Refugee or displaced children
Q3. ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL RULES ABOUT PRIVATE FOSTERING?
Yes. There are special rules and regulations about how children are looked after, even if it is a private arrangement. These also cover who can care for a child. Children's Social Care departments have to check that these rules and regulations are being followed.
Q4. HOW IS PRIVATE FOSTERING ARRANGED?
Private fostering is arranged and agreed by a child’s parents and the person or family who will be caring for the child. Both parents and the carers have a duty to notify Luton Borough Council’s Children’s Social Care about the proposed arrangement, before it takes place.
Q5. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO IF I AM FOSTERING A CHILD UNDER THESE ARRANGEMENTS?
If you are making private fostering arrangements the law says you must notify Children's Social Care in writing, at least 6 weeks before you start looking after the child. If it is an emergency you still need to give Children's Social Care at least 48 hours notice.
Q6. WHAT DOES CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE NEED TO KNOW?
We need as much information as possible about the private fostering arrangement that includes:
- Your name, address and any previous addresses in the last 5 years along with your telephone number.
- The child’s full name, place of birth, date of birth, religion, ethnic descent and language spoken.
- The name and address of the child’s parents, or anyone else who has parental responsibility for the child.
- The date when the child is due to start living with you, or when they started living with you.
- The reason why the child is living with you and how long you expect them to live with you
- The name and address of the person who will bring the child to you (usually the parent)
- The name and address of any other person involved in arranging for the child coming to live with you
- Information about any offences for which you, or any member of your household, has been convicted.
This list is not exhaustive but gives a general idea of information that is required
Q7. DO I HAVE TO TELL CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE ABOUT ANY CHANGES?
Yes. You need to tell us about significant changes during the private fostering arrangements within 48 hours. This may include:
- Whether you, or anyone living in your household, has been disqualified from fostering.
- If you change address
- Someone joining or leaving your household
- Any member of the household having court convictions, disqualifications from fostering or limits on how many you can foster.
- If a privately fostered child dies.
Q8. WHAT DO PARENTS HAVE TO TELL CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE?
- Give written notice to Children's Social Care.
- Give information, similar to that which the carers have to give.
- Inform us of changes in circumstances, including the ending of the arrangement.
- Give information to the carers about the child, especially medical information.
- Inform the carers of any change in address
- Work with the carers, to make sure the fostering arrangement works well for the child.
- Maintain the child financially.
- Continue to take parental responsibility for the child and be contactable and available for any important decisions.
Q9. WHAT DOES CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE DO?
If we agree the private fostering arrangements are suitable, we will arrange for a Social Worker to visit the child regularly, to provide support, advice and to ensure the child makes good progress.
If you have further questions, please contact:
1st Floor, Town Hall Extension
Tel: 01582 547 653
- Q1. What is Private Fostering?
- Q2. What children are privately fostered?
- Q3. Are there any special rules about private fostering?
- Q4. How is private fostering arranged?
- Q5. What do I need to do if I am fostering a child under these arrangements?
- Q6. What does Children's Social Care need to know?
- Q7. Do I have to tell Children's Social Care about any changes?
- Q8. What do parents have to tell Children's Social Care?
- Q9. What does Children's Social Care do?