View Wirral LSCB Procedures Manual View Wirral LSCB Procedures Manual

3.2 Private Fostering

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

See also Private Fostering Statement of Purpose

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

DCSF, National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering (2005)

AMENDMENT

An amendment was made in September 2017 to add a point of clarity with respect of children under 16 years who spend more than two weeks at school in holiday time. (See Section 4, A Child is Not Privately Fostered).


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of a Private Fostering Arrangement
  3. Who is a Private Foster Carer?
  4. A Child is Not Privately Fostered
  5. Background
  6. Procedure
  7. Assessment
  8. Children in Need
  9. Children with Disabilities
  10. Safeguarding Children
  11. Checks
  12. Follow Up Visit
  13. Reviews
  14. Agreement between Parents and Carers
  15. Record Management
  16. Monitoring
  17. Post 16 Support
  18. Parental Advice and Support
  19. Information and Advice to Private Foster Carers
  20. Information and Advice to Child or Young Person being Privately Fostered
  21. Immigration Status
  22. Requirements
  23. Prohibitions
  24. Appeal Process for Private Foster Carers
  25. Notification to Other Authorities
  26. Death of a Privately Fostered Child

    Appendix 1: Notification of Private Fostering Arrangement to Integrated Front Door (IFD)

    Appendix 2: Flow Diagram Caring for Somebody Else's Child


1. Introduction

Local Authorities do not formally approve or register Private Foster Carers. However, it is the duty of Local Authorities to satisfy themselves that the welfare of children who are, or will be, privately fostered within their area is being, or will be, satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted.

The Wirral Policy on Private Fostering details the responsibilities of the Council in relation to the measures included in section 44 of the Children Act 2004, the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 (see National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering), which strengthen and enhance the current private fostering notification scheme and how it meets the National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering.

This procedure details how the Policy will be implemented and the responsibilities and duties of staff.


2. Definition of a Private Fostering Arrangement

Private fostering is:

  • An arrangement that is made privately without the involvement of a Local Authority; AND
  • Involves the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled); AND
  • Someone other than a parent, someone who has Parental Responsibility or a close relative provides the child with accommodation in their own home; AND
  • The arrangement is for a period of 28 days or more.

Note: If the arrangement is for less than 28 days but is one of a series that all add up to 28 days or more then this may count as a Private Fostering Arrangement. The continuity of an arrangement is not broken by the occasional short break. For example if a child returned home one weekend in four, it would constitute a Private Fostering Arrangement.


3. Who is a Private Foster Carer?

A Private Foster Carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child, or someone previously unknown to the child's family who is willing to privately foster a child. If the child is cared for by someone from the extended family, such as a cousin or great Aunt, but not a close relative (see Section 4, A Child is Not Privately Fostered) they are a privately fostered child.


4. A Child is Not Privately Fostered

  • Where the person has cared for him/her for a period of less than 28 days and does not intend to do so for any longer period;
  • If the person caring for the child is a relative under the Children Act 1989 i.e. a parent, Grandparent, Brother, Sister, Uncle or Aunt (whether of full or half blood or by marriage) or a step-parent (including civil partnerships);
  • If they are being Looked After by a Local Authority;
  • Where the care is in premises which a parent, person with Parental Responsibility or close relative are living;
  • Where the child is in the care of a person in accommodation provided by or on behalf of any voluntary organisation, in a care home, in a school in which they receive full-time education or in any health service hospital.

    Note however, that children under 16 who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school where they are a pupil, they become privately fostered children for the purposes of the legislation during that holiday period - unless they have exemption from the local authority from giving written notice (either for a specified period or indefinitely).
  • Where the child is in the care of any person in compliance with an order under section 63(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000;
  • While a child is liable to be detained, or subject to guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983;
  • Where the child is placed for Adoption.


5. Background

Private Fostering Arrangements can be a positive response from within the community to difficulties experienced by families. Nonetheless, privately fostered children remain a diverse and potentially vulnerable group.

Overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the privately fostered child remains with the parent or other person with Parental Responsibility.

Local Authorities do not formally approve or register Private Foster Carers. However, Section 44 of the Children Act 2004 extends the duty of Local Authorities to satisfy themselves that the welfare of children who are, or will be, privately fostered within their area is being, or will be, satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted.

It is the Local Authority in whose area the privately fostered child resides which has legal duties in respect of that child.


6. Procedure

6.1 Responsibilities

The Safeguarding Unit will be responsible for reporting on the Department’s progress and implementation of the Regulations and Standards to Private Fostering.

The appropriate District qualified Social Worker will be responsible for the assessment, visits and review of all cases. The Lead Senior Manager will authorise the assessment.

Following assessment by the Social Worker, a joint visit will be arranged which will include a Children’s Services professional from Targeted Preventative Services. The purpose of the joint visit will be to assess the need for targeted support to be offered as appropriate across the continuum of need including Early Help. Although Liquid Logic will generate an alert to Targeted Services, the Social Worker should follow this up with a phone call to arrange a suitable date/time.

The IRO will chair three monthly and then six monthly thereafter Reviews and these will be attended by the Social Worker, IRO, child, carer and parents (if appropriate).

The Social Worker will arrange the reviews and invite attendees and the IRO will chair and record an account of the meeting.

The Safeguarding Unit is responsible for promoting and publishing the requirements of Private Fostering, assisting District social work and maintaining a list of Private Foster Carers and quality assuring against this Policy and the minimum standards.

Wired will review the Private Foster Carer/s before the 3 month review and before each subsequent review. Wired should attend each of the reviews undertaken by the IRO to discuss the outcome. Social Worker will ensure that the review/s of the carer’s are undertaken.

Note: In the event of a large group of children visiting our area, (for example the Chernobyl Children Life Line Charity who bring children over from Belarus), a meeting will be convened by the Safeguarding Unit to discuss length of stay and if this will trigger an assessment. If an assessment is required, the meeting will discuss how this will be resourced and the requirements for a review.

6.2 Requirement to Notify

When anyone becomes aware of an existing or a proposed Private Fostering Arrangement for a child and the child is or will be resident within Wirral, a referral must be made to Integrated Front Door (IFD). The information must include child's name, date of birth, gender, duration of stay, address of arrangement, carer name, parent name (see Appendix 1: Notification of private fostering arrangement to Integrated Front Door (IFD) for further information).

All private fostering notifications received by Integrated Front Door (IFD) will be transferred to the appropriate district social work assessment team and the Safeguarding Unit, Targeted Services and Lead Senior Manager will be notified.

New Cases

Where the Private Fostering Arrangement has not started the allocated Social Worker will write to the proposed Private Foster Carers and/or the parent informing them of the requirement to notify the appropriate Local Authority of the proposal at least 6 weeks before the date on which the Private Fostering Arrangement is to begin or immediately if the arrangement is to begin within 6 weeks.

When it is an existing Private Fostering Arrangement where no notification has taken place the allocated Social Worker will write to the person within 24 hours informing them of the requirement to notify the Local Authority immediately and when a visit is to take place. (This should be within 7 working days).

Where the notification is about an arrangement that is already in place the Social Worker should visit within 7 days to carry out a Single Assessment.

Where the child is not with the potential Private Foster Carer, the social worker must visit the child within 7 days of notification of the arrangement taking place to speak to the child and establish matters about the welfare of the child.

For all notifications the Social Worker will complete a Single Assessment within 7 days of notification of the arrangement and complete the Private Fostering assessment, and Single Assessment if appropriate, within 35 days of the notification.

Completion of the private fostering assessment is required within 35 days to ensure that a decision is made about the suitability of the Private Fostering Arrangement within 42 days of notification. The Lead Senior Manager will authorise the assessment.

Existing Open Cases

The Safeguarding Unit must be informed as soon as the child is identified as being in a potential Private Fostering Arrangement. The allocated Social Worker must undertake a private fostering arrangement assessment (PFAA) on existing open cases.


7. Assessment

The assessment will be undertaken using the dimension headings of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000) as a guide.

In the first place a Single Assessment will identify if it is a Private Fostering arrangement and what level of need.

If a Child in Need is identified through the Single Assessment a Single Assessment must be undertaken in addition to a Private Fostering assessment.

The private fostering assessment form in LiquidLogic is the appropriate record to use.

The person carrying out the assessment will:

  • Visit the premises where it is proposed that the child will be cared for and accommodated;
  • Speak directly (i.e. face to face) to the proposed Private Foster Carer and to all members of his household;
  • Speak directly (i.e. face to face) to the child whom it is proposed will be privately fostered, alone unless the officer considers it inappropriate. (An interpreter who is independent of the child's parents and of the Private Foster Carer should always be used where the child's preferred language is not English);
  • Speak to and, if it is practicable to do so, visit the parents of, or other person with Parental Responsibility for, the child.

The following must be established:

  • That the intended duration of the Private Fostering Arrangement is understood by, and agreed between, the parents of the child (or any other person with Parental Responsibility for him) and the proposed Private Foster Carer;
  • The wishes and feelings of the child about the proposed arrangement (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
  • The suitability of the proposed accommodation including completion of a health and safety checklist;
  • The capacity of the proposed Private Foster Carer to look after the child;
  • The suitability of other members of the proposed Private Foster Carer's household;
  • That arrangements for contact between the child and his parents, any other person with Parental Responsibility for him, and other persons who are significant to him (e.g. siblings, other family members, close friends) have been agreed and understood, and that those arrangements will be satisfactory for the child;
  • That the parents of the child, or any other person with Parental Responsibility for him, and the proposed Private Foster Carer have agreed financial arrangements for the care and maintenance of the child;
  • That consent to medical treatment has been agreed between parent and private foster carer;
  • That consideration has been given to, and necessary steps taken for the needs around the child's education in discussion with parents;
  • How decisions about the day to day care of the child will be taken; and
  • Whether the proposed Private Foster Carer, the parents of the child, any other person with Parental Responsibility for him, or any other person concerned with the child are being given such advice as seems to the authority to be needed;
  • Immigration status of the child.

In addition where the arrangement is already in existence the following will be established:

  • The child's physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development is appropriate and satisfactory;
  • The child's religious, racial, cultural and linguistic needs are being met;
  • The financial arrangements for the care and maintenance are working;
  • The child is receiving appropriate health care;
  • The standards of care that the child is being given.

The Social Worker must consult with appropriate agencies (e.g. Health Visitor) who may already be involved with the child, or the proposed or actual private Foster Carer or members of that household. The person who is, or is proposing to, foster the child privately must be made aware that such views will be sought, and provide consent for agencies to be contacted.

The child's needs must be the focus of the assessment. If there are concerns regarding the child being in need of protection the Social Worker must undertake an assessment in line with the Child In Need procedure and/or WSCB Guidance on safeguarding children.

(See also: WSCB, Managing Allegations Against Staff, Volunteers, Foster and Potential Adoptive Carers Working with Children Procedure).


8. Children in Need

Where a child's developmental needs are not being, or will not be, met, an assessment as to whether the child is in need of services under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, must be undertaken. The assessment and commissioning of services will be the responsibility of the District social work teams.

Consideration will be given as to whether support and services need to be provided to increase the capacity of the Private Foster Carer to meet the child's needs. Where a Child In Need Plan is put in place, this must be reviewed at minimum intervals of six months.

It is the responsibility of the parent or person with Parental Responsibility to provide financially for Private Fostering Arrangements. Time limited or one off payments can be made available for identified need where there are no funds being provided by the parents, or while benefit entitlements are clarified (Child Benefits and child tax credit). These need to be clearly recorded as required under a Private Fostering Arrangement.


9. Children with Disabilities

As part of the Single Assessment, consideration must be given to the overall development needs of a disabled child who is privately fostered and the additional support that may be required. This will be done in conjunction with the children with disabilities team and with appropriate services.


10. Safeguarding Children

Where the Private Fostering assessment indicates that the child will be at risk of Significant Harm, a Strategy Discussion must take place to determine if a Section 47 Enquiry and Single Assessment should be undertaken. If the child is believed to be at immediate risk of Significant Harm, legal advice should be sought without delay and child protection procedures implemented immediately.

Where allegations have been made against the Private Foster Carer the Wirral Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual, Managing Allegations Against Staff, Volunteers, Foster and Adoptive Carers who Work With Children should be followed.


11. Checks

The allocated Social Worker will organise all of the following checks for anyone living in the private fostering household who is 18 years or over:

  • Enhanced DBS;
  • Carer to complete Carer Enquiry Consent form;
  • Checks on their own records and other Local Authorities that may have been involved with the proposed Private Foster Carers and any other household members aged over 16 years;
  • Education;
  • Probation;
  • OFSTED (provides information about any registration as childminders/child care register);
  • All employers where the prospective Foster Carers have worked with children.


12. Follow Up Visit

Every Privately Fostered child must be visited by a Local Authority officer every 6 weeks after notification of the arrangement. The frequency of visits can only be reduced after a multi-agency review 12 months after notification and the visits must not be less than every 12 weeks. The visits should initially be joint visits by the allocated Social Worker and a Children’s Services professional from Targeted Services. The Social Worker will in addition visit when reasonably requested to do so by the child, Private Foster Carer, a parent of the child or any other person with Parental Responsibility for them.

The purpose of the visit is to assess the welfare of the child in the private fostering arrangement. The child must be seen alone, unless it seen to be inappropriate. The visit must establish the following:

  • The intended duration of the arrangement is understood and agreed by the child or young person, the parents/person with PR and the Private Foster Carers;
  • The wishes and feelings of the child about the arrangement;
  • That the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development is appropriate and satisfactory;
  • That the child’s needs arising from his religious persuasion, racial origin, and cultural and linguistic background are being met;
  • That the financial arrangements for the care and maintenance of the child are working;
  • The capacity of the Private Foster Carer to look after the child;
  • The suitability of the accommodation;
  • That the arrangements for care of the child’s health are in place and are registered with a GP;
  • The arrangements for the child’s education;
  • The standard of the care which the child is being given;
  • The suitability of members of the Private Foster Carer’s household;
  • Whether the contact between the child and his parents, or any other person with whom contact has been arranged, is satisfactory for the child;
  • How decisions about the child’s care are being taken; and
  • Whether the Private Foster Carer, the parents of the child, any other person with Parental Responsibility for the child, or any other person concerned with the child are being given such advice as appears to the authority to be needed.
The visit must be recorded on LiquidLogic as a Private Fostering visit, this can be accessed under Case Notes or in the Private Fostering module under ‘visits’.


13. Reviews

The reviews of the child will be chaired by a Lead IRO and the Social Worker will invite attendees.

The first will take place 3 months after the agreed suitability of the arrangement and every 6 months thereafter. Where the child is about to reach 16 years a final review will take place to address any concerns regarding end of the arrangement and future plans.

There will be opportunity for a representative from Targeted Services to attend at the end of the meeting to introduce themselves and the services they offer.

A copy of the review will be provided to the carer and parent.

The review must be recorded on Liquid Logic by the IRO.

Wired will attend the child’s review meeting to provide feedback on the review of the Private Foster Carer review.

DBS checks will be undertaken every 3 years.


14. Agreement between Parents and Carers

The Social Worker will encourage the parents or person(s) with Parental Responsibility to complete the written agreement with the carer(s). This written agreement should address issues of medical consent, clear expectation of the Private Foster Carer's role, the parent's role, the role of the Local Authority, contact arrangements and any payments by the parents for maintenance of the child. Throughout the arrangement the parent continues to have Parental Responsibility and execute this accordingly.

The agreement must be recorded on LiquidLogic by the Social Worker.


15. Record Management

The Case must be recorded as Private Fostering on Liquid Logic and all communications with the child, parents, carer etc must be recorded clearly and in accordance with the policies and practices of the Department. (See, Record Keeping in Children’s Services Specialist Services Procedure).

The social worker must record all visits in the Private Fostering module and the completed assessment must be accessible in the pathway.

The IRO must ensure that review minutes are recorded in the Private Fostering module.

Case file records for children that have been privately fostered will be retained for 25 years from date of birth, unless they have been subject to a child protection investigation or been Looked After, when the retention period for these categories will be applied.

The records in relation to the assessment of Private Foster Carers will be retained for 20 years after they have ceased to foster or 3 years if their suitability was not approved or withdrawn, or 75 years if there have been any allegations made against the Private Foster Carer.


16 Monitoring

The lead IRO will be responsible for the quality assurance of Private Fostering to ensure the following:

  • Compliance with required time-scales for action to be taken on receipt of a notification;
  • Decisions about the overall suitability of arrangements and subsequent visits;
  • Additional visits are made when reasonably requested;
  • Children are seen alone, unless it is considered inappropriate (and with an independent interpreter where the child's preferred language is not English);
  • Written reports are made in accordance with the regulations;
  • Decisions about the suitability of arrangements are signed-off at managerial level;
  • Any concerns raised by privately fostered children are addressed;
  • The satisfactory operation of all its procedures, and the effectiveness of its actions, in relation to private fostering;
  • The Safeguarding Unit will ensure:
    • The Safeguarding Unit will provide a report annually to the Local Safeguarding Board and the Director of Children's Services;
    • The Safeguarding Unit will provide the WSCB with data on a quarterly basis to include: number of Privately Fostered children, number of new arrangements within the quarter, number of assessments completed within the quarter and if they were completed within timescales.
  • The WSCB will ensure:
    • The WSCB will continue to provide briefings to professionals in relation to Private Fostering and will oversee how well the needs of children who are privately fostered are being met in Wirral.


17. Post 16 Support

Young disabled people who have been privately fostered may qualify for advice and assistance under Section 24 of the Children Act 1989 where they are under 21 and were (but are no longer) privately fostered at any time after their sixteenth birthday. Advice, assistance and befriending will be provided to such a young person if they ask for help and their previous Private Foster Carers do not have the necessary facilities to advise or befriend him. Signposting to other services may be appropriate.

Assistance may be in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash which may also be conditional on repayment, except where a person is in receipt of certain benefits.


18. Parental Advice and Support

The Social Worker will encourage parents as much as possible to be involved in decision making in relation to their child, the Private Fostering Arrangement, and to maintain regular contact.

Social Workers will provide advice and support to parents to enable them to make alternative arrangements for the care of their child, where the Local Authority considers that it is not appropriate for the child to be privately fostered, and where a Private Fostering Arrangement is prohibited, and no other is contemplated.

Parents may need to be advised on the desirability of keeping siblings together if possible - unless a child has particular needs which preclude being with siblings. They may need advice on attachment issues, and the implications of a child living away from home with someone else to whom they may become attached if parental involvement is not maintained. They may also need advice on what to do if they are concerned about their child's care.

In each case, consideration will be given to whether the provision of support to the parents (or person with Parental Responsibility) or referral to another agency, would remove the necessity for the child to be privately fostered. Where it is feasible to do so, and it is in the child's best interests and with the parents' consent, then that support should be provided. In such cases a referral will be made to Integrated Front Door (IFD).

If the parents, or those with Parental Responsibility, are failing to exercise their responsibilities e.g. failing to pay maintenance or to keep in touch, the Social Worker will try to locate them and find out if there is a problem, give advice and take appropriate action as necessary. Where they cannot be contacted over a sustained period of time, the Social Worker will consider the extent to which (if at all) they should exercise any of their functions under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004 with respect to the child.


19. Information and Advice to Private Foster Carers

The Social Worker will provide information on the advice and support that is available from other agencies, including health services, education, housing services; youth support services, voluntary organisations and community groups.

Private Foster Carers must be given contact details of the person responsible for their assessment and the regular visits.

The Private Foster Carer will be offered a place on any in-house training courses relevant to their situation.

The Social Worker will provide advice to Private Foster Carers on topics such as:

  • The advisability of taking out public liability insurance;
  • The potential for bullying and racial harassment;
  • The importance of regularly consulting and taking into account the wishes and feelings of the child about key issues;
  • The needs arising from religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
  • Ability to care effectively for a child in other ways (including in relation to age, sex and disability);
  • The opportunity to utilise any training or support services that may be available (for example Foster Carers, parenting skills, child minders).

Private Foster Carers will be advised that they should keep information to share with parents and where appropriate the Local Authority. This could include:

  • Monitoring and updating the child's medical history;
  • Keeping a file of school reports;
  • Note the dates and means of contact with parents and other significant people in the child's life;
  • Maintaining a financial record of monies received on behalf of the child's upkeep;
  • Noting the dates and nature of social work visits;
  • Keeping a photograph album of significant events/people in the child's life.


20. Information and Advice to Child or Young Person being Privately Fostered

All children and young people being privately fostered must be given information in formats appropriate to their age and level of understanding, about:

  • The responsibilities of their Private Foster Carer;
  • The meaning of their privately fostered status;
  • Their right to be safeguarded;
  • The contact details of the Social Worker who will be visiting them while they are privately fostered;
  • Details of the Children's Involvement Officer, Children's Complaints Officer and independent Advocacy services;
  • The procedure for assessing eligibility for adult care services (if the privately fostered child is also disabled), as they approach the age of 18, so that assessments can take place in a timely manner.

Private Fostering Documentation can be obtained from the Children and Young People's Department Intranet Forms and Liquid Logic.

21. Immigration Status

The Social Worker should check a privately fostered child's passport to clarify the child's immigration status and that the child is lawfully present in the UK.

Where there is in any doubt about a child's immigration or nationality status the UK Visas and Immigration must be consulted.

In these circumstances, consideration should be given to tracing the child's parents and arranging for the child to be returned to them. Assistance can be obtained from the authorities in the country of origin or the International Social Service (ISS). The ISS is usually able to provide for the exchange of medical and educational histories of a child, as well as to ascertain whether there would be any reasonable grounds not to return the child to his parents and whether Parental Responsibility has been terminated or circumscribed by any overseas authority, or to make arrangements for the reunification of the child with his parents overseas.


22. Requirements

Requirements can be imposed on Private Foster Carers as to:

  • The number, age and sex of the children who may be privately fostered;
  • The standard of accommodation and equipment to be provided for them;
  • The arrangements to be made with respect to their health and safety; and
  • Particular arrangements which must be made with respect to the provision of care for them as required by Private Fostering National Minimum Standards.

Requirements can relate to an individual child or a category of children, e.g. those over a certain age.

The imposition of a requirement must be notified in writing with the reasons for the requirement and the notification must inform the person of his right to appeal and the time limit for doing so.

Any imposition of requirements must be recorded in LiquidLogic by the Social Worker.


23. Prohibitions

A prohibition can be imposed on persons who propose to foster privately, as well as to persons who are actually fostering a child privately.

A decision to impose a prohibition will be made by the Senior Manager, Safeguarding following a recommendation by the Private Fostering Panel. The Senior Manager, Safeguarding will notify the DfE of any prohibitions.

The prohibition can be applied if it is the opinion of the Local Authority that:

  • The person is not suitable to privately foster a child;
  • The premises are not suitable for private fostering; or
  • It would be prejudicial to the welfare of the child for them to be, or continue to be, accommodated by that person in those premises.

A prohibition can be applied to:

  • A person fostering privately any child in any premises; or
  • A child in specified premises; or
  • A particular child in specified premises.

A prohibition must be sent in writing to the person on whom it is being imposed, specify reasons, and contain information about the right of the person to appeal and the time in which s/he may do so.

In circumstances where a prohibition is imposed on a Private Foster Carer who already has a child living with them under a Private Fostering Arrangement, the department will exercise its duty under section 67(5) of the Children Act 1989 to consider securing care and accommodation of the child with one of the following (unless it is not in the child's best interest):

  • A parent;
  • Any person who is not a parent of his but who has Parental Responsibility for him; or
  • A relative.

Where a prohibition is being considered and the Private Foster Carer has their own or other children living with them, consideration may need to be given to assessing their needs and whether they are risk of Significant Harm.

Persons on whom a prohibition has been imposed under Section 69 are disqualified from private fostering and from carrying on or being employed in a children's home, voluntary home, day care or childminding.


24. Appeal Process for Private Foster Carers

Private Foster Carers may appeal to the Family Proceedings Court within 14 days of notification of a decision to impose a requirement or prohibition, refuse to cancel a prohibition, refuse to exempt a person from the fostering limit of 3 under Schedule 7 (or impose a condition on an exemption or a variation or cancellation of such an exemption) or refuse to consent to allow a person who is disqualified to privately foster a child. Legal Services must be involved in all appeals.


25. Notification to Other Authorities

If the Private Foster Carer moves to another Local Authority, or a Local Authority in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the Social Worker must pass on to the Local Authority and the Clinical Commissioning Group (if they have special health needs) information relating to:

  • The name and new address of the Private Foster Carer;
  • The name of the child who is being privately fostered; and
  • The name and address of the child's parents or any other person who has Parental Responsibility for him;
  • Any important matters relating to the welfare of the child (e.g. a disability or health condition), special educational needs;
  • The suitability of the Private Foster Carer.

This information should be passed over as soon as possible, but no more than 5 working days after the Local Authority has been notified that the child has moved.

The responsibility for monitoring the Private Fostering Arrangement remains with the Social Worker until written confirmation is received from the Local Authority accepting responsibility for monitoring.

If a parent informs the Local Authority that a child is going to stay with someone who would come under Private Fostering Arrangements, the Local Authority will inform the appropriate Local Authority.


26. Death of a Privately Fostered Child

If a child dies whilst in private foster care, the Department should ensure that the parent is notified immediately.

If appropriate, an investigation will commence under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, this will be conducted jointly with Locality Assessment team staff, and decision making in respect of this will be undertaken by the Team Manager in consultation with the District Manager.

If a child dies in private foster care and there are concerns about abuse/ neglect/ suspicious death, investigations will take place within existing Safeguarding Procedures with the procedure for Serious Case Reviews followed, if appropriate. (See Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need) Procedure).

Assistance to the Private Foster Carer with the formalities will be considered.

The outcome of the investigation if appropriate will be presented to the Child Death Overview Panel.


Appendix 1: Notification of Private Fostering Arrangement to Integrated Front Door (IFD)

There is a requirement to notify the Local Authority about any private fostering arrangement from any of the following:

  • The person with whom the child is, or will be privately fostered;
  • The parent, guardian, or person with Parental Responsibility;
  • Any other person involved in the arrangement.

When a notification is made to Integrated Front Door (IFD) about a Private Fostering Arrangement as much of the following information should be obtained:

  • Name, sex, date and place of birth, religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background of the child;
  • Name and current address of the person giving the notice and his addresses within the previous five years;
  • Name and current address of the proposed or current Private Foster Carer and his/her addresses within the previous five years;
  • Name and current address of the parents of the child and of any other person who has Parental Responsibility for the child and (if different) of any person from whom the child is to be, or was, received;
  • Name and current address of the minor siblings of the child, and details of the arrangements for their care;
  • Name and current address of any person involved (whether or not directly) in arranging for the child to be fostered privately;
  • The date on which it is intended that the Private Fostering Arrangement will start, or on which it did start; and the intended duration of the private fostering arrangement.


Appendix 2: Flow Diagram Caring for Somebody Else's Child

Click here for Appendix 2: Flow Diagram Caring for Somebody Else's Child

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