What is private fostering?
Private Fostering is an arrangement made for a child under the age of 16, or under 18 if a child has a disability, to be cared for by someone other than a close relative for 28 days or more. Close relatives include brothers, sisters (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage) step-parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
If the person looking after you is an approved foster carer or the arrangement has been made by the local authority it is not private fostering.
Why are children privately fostered?
There can be lots of different reasons for being privately fostered in Shropshire, the most common reasons are:
- you are a teenager and there are lots of rows at home, so you go to stay with your friend’s family until the problems can be sorted out
- your mum or dad is ill and cannot look after you so you go and stay with a neighbour or family friend
If you think you are in a private fostering arrangement, please contact us.
Why do I need to notify Shropshire Council
By law you must inform us about any private fostering situations in Shropshire.
If the child is not, as yet, living with the private foster carers we, as an authority, need to be notified six weeks beforehand. If the arrangement is that the child is to be living with private carers before six weeks, we need to be notified immediately.
So, if you are considering entering a private fostering arrangement, know someone who is being privately fostered or, indeed, you are a teacher or professional who thinks they have a student or patient who is being fostered privately then you need to contact us on 0345 678 9008.
What happens once we notify Shropshire?
Once we know of any private fostering arrangements our aim is to work together with the child, the parents and the private foster carers.
The first step will be arranging for a social worker to visit the child or young person and the private fostering carers. They will listen to both the carer’s and the child’s needs and offer advice and support accordingly. In certain cases there may also be allowances
Shropshire aims and objectives
Ultimately our aim is to safeguard the child’s welfare. This often means providing the appropriate support to the carers and parents. Shropshire’s aims and objectives are explained more fully in the attached statement of purpose.
We have a range of publications on private fostering targeted at carers, professionals and children, and these are available to download here:
Alternatively you can access a series of publications on private fostering in a variety of languages at the Somebody Else’s Child web site.