Private Fostering - Do you know what this is?
Private Fostering is when any child or young person under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) is living away from their parents for 28 days or more and are living with someone who is not:
- A parent
- An immediate relative (brother/sisters, grandparents , aunts /uncles, step-parents ( if married). More extended members of the family are not deemed as immediate relatives.
- Someone who has legal parental responsibility for them
There are many reasons why children and young people may be living away from their parents or an immediate relative. However, many parents make private arrangements unaware there is a legal obligation to inform the Local Authority of the arrangement and or that the Local Authority have a duty to safeguard children living in Private Fostering arrangements. It is estimated there are thousands of children and young people living in private fostering arrangements but notifications to the Local Authorities are low both in Hertfordshire and nationally.
If we know about the arrangements, we can provide advice and support to the child or young person, to the carer and the parents.
These are some of the examples of Private Fostering arrangements:
H has aged 13 has not been getting on with her parents and after another argument she went to stay at a friend’s home. She has been there for three months.
T aged 15 and has lived with her father and his partner since she was five. They never married and have recently split up. T has decided she wants to live with her father’s ex-partner.
S aged 11, and K aged 7, live with their mother who has mental health issues and has been in hospital for a month. S and K have been staying with their cousin Jenny and her family.
S, aged 14, has come to the UK from Russia to learn English for eight weeks and has been staying with a host family.
T aged 6, had been brought from Nigeria to the UK by his mother and was left with a family friend whom he refers to as ‘auntie’, while his mother returned to Nigeria. There has been no contact with his mother since and his ‘auntie’ has continued to care for him.
J is 17 and has cerebral palsy. His father recently passed away following a short illness and he is now staying with a family friend. J has no contact with his mother.
F is 15 and from Ireland. He has been selected for a Premiership Football Club Academy in the UK and is staying with a host family.
During Private Fostering Week (8 – 12 July 2019) the Local Authority aim to raise and increase awareness of Private Fostering, and to encourage anyone who may know of a child or young person living in a Private Fostering arrangement, to contact 01442 453595 .
The Family and Friends Team will be holding information stands at the Hertfordshire sites, and people are invited to come along, between 11am – 2pm, by the canteen area on:
- Tuesday 9th July 2019 - Apsley Two, Brindley Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9BF
- Wednesday 10th July 2019 - County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DQ
- Friday 12th July 2019 - Farnham House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2ST
If you are aware of a child or young person who is not living with their parents or you need help or advice about Private Fostering arrangements, please contact our Family and Friends Fostering team on 01442 453595 or Customer Services Centre on 0300 123 4043 or alternatively visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk and search for ‘Alternatives to Fostering’.
The flyer for Private Fostering can be found Here