North Yorkshire County Council is running a summer campaign to ensure private foster carers - people who look after a child full-time, for more than 28 consecutive days and are not a parent or close relative - know they have to make the council aware of t
People involved in ‘private’ child care arrangements are often unaware that the county council must be told about it. There are approximately 10,000 children in England who are privately fostered and studies show that more than 50 per cent of placements are not notified to local councils. Even when they are notified, it is nearly always after the living circumstances have started. It is crucial that they are alerted to private fostering arrangements so they can check that they are suitable for the child and where support can be offered for the family if required.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Privately fostered children and young people can be amongst the most vulnerable in the UK.
“While we do not want to interfere in what is working well, we want to be in a position to provide support and advice and ensure that the private arrangement goes as smoothly as possible.
“In many cases, private foster carers are completely unaware that they have to notify us and this means we are unable to check whether the child is being properly cared for. In North Yorkshire, we are now having a major push to find out just how many young people are in private foster care.
“It is vital we have that information and we would urge anyone who is involved in such an arrangement, or who plans to be involved in one in the future, to contact us as soon as possible. In some instances financial help may be available, and we can put people in touch with local support networks for carers”.
Once the county council is aware of a private fostering arrangement, a social worker will visit the child, parents and the carer within the same week of being notified and complete an assessment of the private carers with ongoing regular contact being maintained.
For more information on private fostering visit http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/privatefostering