Are you looking after someone else’s child?

Did you know that if you are caring for a child under 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) who is not your child, and you are not an immediate relative, this may be a Private Fostering arrangement?

During Private Fostering week, Monday 4 to Friday 11 July Plymouth City Council is encouraging anyone who knows about a child or young person living away from their immediate family for 28 days or more, to get in touch.

A Private Fostering arrangement could be due to a number of factors such as, a family breakdown or a parent in the forces working abroad for a period of time and the child staying with alternative carers or a child from overseas living with a host family while attending school.

By law, the parent and/or the private foster carer must tell the Council if they are involved in a Private Fostering arrangement. Once notified, a Social Worker will work together with the child, their parents and the private foster carer to ensure that the best possible arrangements are in place.

There are an estimated 10,000 children living in private fostering arrangements in England and Wales, but last year only just over 1,500 notifications were made to local authorities. While most of these children will be safe, others may be at risk of abuse and neglect at the hands of their private foster carers.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Our priority is ensuring that all children and young people are safe, happy and doing well so it’s crucial that that you let us know about a private fostering arrangement so we can provide support and guidance.

“We are particularly asking people who work with children to be aware of private fostering and to let us know if they believe such an arrangement is in place.

“If you know of a child or young person who is not living with their parents or you would like to notify us of a private fostering arrangement please call 668000 or email Gateway@plymouth.gov.uk