Many people find themselves looking after someone else’s child without realising that they may be involved in private fostering.
A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately by the parent or person with parental responsibility (that is to say 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 immediate relative.
A relative under the Children Act 1989 is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step parent. A private fostering arrangement lasts for 28 days or more.
People become involved in private fostering for all kinds of reasons. Examples of private fostering include –
- children where arrangements are made due to parental illness or distress or when parents’ work or study involves long or antisocial hours
- children sent from abroad to stay with another family, usually to improve their educational opportunities
- asylum seeking and refugee children
- teenagers who stay with friends (or other non-relatives) because they have fallen out with their parents and who may not be in touch with agencies such as education services
- children staying with families while attending a school away from their home area
- children from overseas whose parents do not reside in this country
Parents of a child who is being cared for by someone else, or those caring for the child have a duty to notify Hull City Council in order that they can check that the young person is being properly cared for and that the arrangement is satisfactory.