Let the council know if you are looking after someone else's child

Published
04.07.2016

Gloucestershire County Council is reminding everyone who supports or works with children that they have a legal responsibility to inform the council if they find out a young person is being privately fostered or no longer living in the family home.

Gloucestershire County Council is reminding parents, carers, teachers, doctors and everyone who supports or works with children that they have a legal responsibility to inform the council if they find out a young person is being privately fostered or no longer living in the family home.

A young persons safety is the most important thing in these instances. As part of Private Fostering Week, 4th - 10th July, the council wants to also remind anyone who is privately fostering a child or young person that training and support is available to them.

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (or under 18 with disabilities) is cared for by someone other than a close family member (parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle) for more than 28 days.

Parents or carers of children and young people have a legal duty to notify the council of where their child is staying if they no longer live with them, however, this does not always happen. This council is therefore encouraging teachers and anyone who works with children to let the council know about any private fostering arrangements.

The county council needs to know about children who aren't living with their own families so that they can support the child and the private foster carer, for example with training.

There are many reasons for children and young people to be privately fostered. They may be estranged from their parents, their parents may be ill or be from overseas and attending a school whilst staying with a host family.

From April 2015 to March 2016, Gloucestershire County Council was notified of 55 children who were being privately fostered. In line with national figures, many of these are teenagers who move in with friends' families or 'sofa surf' from one home to another, following a breakdown in relationships at home.

Twenty nine of the referrals were for young people staying with educational host families. Gloucestershire has a number of private schools and has always had higher numbers of foreign students living in private fostering arrangements than most neighbouring counties.

Cllr Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "If you're looking after a child who isn't part of your own family, don't forget you need to let the council know. Private fostering can be a really positive experience for children, young people, foster carers and families, but we just need to make sure that every young person is in the best situation for them. That's why it is essential that the council knows about it."

If you are aware of a private fostering arrangement in Gloucestershire, contact the children and families helpdesk on 01242 426565.

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