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Private fostering is the term used to describe the situation where a child aged under 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for, and supplied with accommodation, by an adult who is not a relative (for example, a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle), for 28 days or more, by private arrangement between parent and carer.
This is different from the care of children by local councils through approved foster carers. A privately fostered child is not looked after by the local council under the Children Act 1989, but local councils can provide further information about private fostering. Private foster placements are normally arranged by a birth parent. Private foster carers do not hold parental responsibility
Private fostering can involve children sent to the UK for education or health care by parents living overseas, children living with a friend’s family as a result of separation or divorce, teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or children whose parents’ lifestyle involves unsociable hours which makes it difficult for them to use ordinary day care or after school care.
Rules governing private fostering
Privately fostered children are safeguarded by the Children Act 1989 (Part IX) and associated regulations
Private foster carers must :
- advise their local council of their intention to foster a child at least 6 weeks beforehand or, where a child is received in an emergency, no more than 48 hours afterwards
- notify their local council within 48 hours when a child leaves their care, giving the name and address of the person into whose care the child has been moved
Birth parents must:
- advise the local council of the private fostering arrangement at least six weeks in advance or, where an arrangement is made in an emergency, within 48 hours, and at the end of such an arrangement
- retain parental responsibility and participate in all decisions about their child
- provide the prospective carer with as much information about the child as possible, including their health, dietary preferences, school, hobbies, religion and ethnicity
- accept responsibility for ensuring that the proposed private fostering placement is suitable for their child
The local council must:
- check the suitability of private foster carers
- make regular visits to the child and monitor the overall standard of care provided
- ensure that advice to carers is made available when needed
Local councils are not always notified about private fostering arrangements, despite this being an offence under the Children Act 1989. When they are notified, it is often after the fostering has started. This is a problem as privately fostered children are a particularly vulnerable group and need the safeguards provided through the Children Act and associated regulations.
Private Fostering Process
In relation to private fostering arrangements and provision of accommodation with private individuals, colleges would only be involved in arranging private fostering if they arrange placements for under 16s which last for more than 28 days. Under the Children Act 2004 a private college may also have a duty to report to children services if it becomes aware that a student seems to be suffering at the hands of an individual providing private accommodation or fostering.
We provides suitable homestays that are willing to become private foster carers for Under 16 year old students for more than 28 days. The company is experienced in processing all the documents required for the procedure, and our staff offer informed guideline to the student, parents, agent, school/college and homestay.