Yesterday marked the beginning of Private Fostering Week (6 July to 12 July 2015) and Torbay Council is asking organisations and community groups who work with families to raise their awareness of what Private Fostering is.
Private Fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who does not have parental responsibility or is not a close relative for 28 days or more. It is not Private Fostering if the person who is caring for the child is an approved foster carer or it is an arrangement made by Children’s Services.
Parents or carers of the child who is being cared for by someone else have a duty to notify their local authority of where their child is staying. This does not always happen which is why professionals, organisations and community groups need to know more about Private Fostering and that they have a responsibility to notify the council.
Mayor Gordon Oliver, who is also the Executive Lead for Finance, Regeneration and Children, said: “In Torbay we already have high numbers of privately fostered young people. These are mostly international students living with host families for 28 days or longer, but we believe there are other arrangements that we don’t hear about. This is why we would like organisations and groups who meet and work with families on a regular basis to be aware of what a private fostering arrangement is and who to contact to check if we are aware of the situation.”
Torbay Council has a team of professionals working with families who assess and support children and their Private Foster Carers. They are always happy to discuss a situation and advise on what, if anything, needs to happen. The team also go out into the wider community to raise awareness of what Private Fostering is.
If your organisation or group would like a member of the team to visit to talk more about what Private Fostering is with your staff and volunteers, or if you come across a situation where you think a young person may be living with someone other than a parent please contact the Private Fostering Team on 01803 207869. If you have concerns that a child may be at risk of harm, follow Torbay Councils protection procedures. More information is also available at: www.torbay.gov.uk/privatefostering.