Private Fostering resources

Webinar to watch and top tips

We are taking this opportunity to provide some useful information about Private Fostering - looking after someone else's child/children.

  • You can watch this webinar (recorded in 2021) and below read some very useful facts and top tips below that we have shared with our staff to help you navigate the world of Private Fostering.

FACT - A privately fostered child is a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for, or intended to be cared for, by people other than a close relative for 28 days or more. 

  • TOP TIP - You should not wait 28 days to complete the private fostering tasks, work should begin as soon as notification is received.

FACT - A close relative is defined as: parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, step-parent (by marriage, civil partnership or step parent agreement), sister or brother anyone else is not a close relative!   

  • TOP TIP - If you are unsure about whether a family arrangement constitutes private fostering – contact CASS (details below) to discuss or seek advice from the SGO & Private Fostering Team (details below)

FACT - When notified of a new private fostering arrangement a PNC should be requested from the Police in respect of all adults in the household

  • TOP TIP - If you are unable to obtain a PNC please notify your Team Manager for escalation as it has been agreed with Police that PNC’s will be provided for Private Fostering arrangements.

FACT - The Trust will consider whether a privately fostered child is also a Child in Need and consider what support and service is required. 

  • TOP TIP - ASTI (our Assessment and Short-Term Intervention team) will undertake an initial assessment of the family arrangement and the child’s circumstances – the initial visit must be undertaken and recorded within 7 days of the notification.  This will be completed by the allocated child’s social worker if the child is already open to the Trust.

FACT - Once the initial visit is completed the case is reassigned to a safeguarding social worker as a private fostering case.  Regulation 8 visits must be completed every six weeks for the first 12 months.  Consideration can then be given to reducing to 12-weekly in the second year. 

  • TOP TIP - Safeguarding Social Workers and Team Managers will need to decide whether the child should be subject to active Child in Need planning (including multi-agency review) based on the assessment of need, but regardless of this, all private fostering children are by definition children in need

FACT - The suitability of the private fostering arrangement will be assessed by the SGO and Private Fostering Team within Family and Friends.  This assessment must be completed within 42 days.

  • TOP TIP - If the arrangement is deemed to be unsuitable the applicants and parents will be notified in writing. They will then be supported by the Trust to make alternative arrangements for the child.  Child Protection procedures and legal advice to be followed as required. If during the private fostering arrangement, the carers apply for an order such as Child Arrangements Order the case remains as private fostering until the order is granted.

FACT - If a privately fostered child lives with a private foster carer, but then has regular overnight stays with a birth parent – such as every weekend or fortnightly; this is then not a private fostering arrangement- but becomes a private care arrangement.

  • TOP TIP - If there are any changes in the living arrangements for the child in the private fostering placement, please advise the SGO & Private Fostering Team at the earliest opportunity.

FACT - Whilst the private fostering arrangement remains ongoing, The SGO and Private Fostering Team will attend any Child in Need Meetings and provide support and advice to the Private Foster carer as may be required. The arrangement will be reviewed annually by the SGO and Private Fostering Team. 

  • TOP TIP - The person with parental responsibility must be invited to participate in the Child in Need Meetings, as responsibility for the child remains with them. If the child’s situation changes, please inform the SGO & Private Fostering Team

Who to contact