Image demonstrating Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board working with families who privately foster children

Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board working with families who privately foster children

Families within Northumberland are reminded that if they know of, or, are privately fostering a child then they need to get in touch with social services who will ensure the child and family are receiving the support they need.  

Northumberland County Council has a responsibility to ensure that every child within the county has a safe place to live which provides basic safeguards in place to protect them along with ensuring their general welfare. 

Children living away from home may be more vulnerable and in some cases can be at increased risk of abuse or neglect.

Robin Harper-Coulson, Business Manager of the Local Safeguarding Children Board said: “Children may be privately fostered for a number of reasons and we review their private fostering circumstances along with the overall benefits of the developmental needs of the child and the best possible outcome for their health and development. 

“Each child should live in an environment that provides safeguarding against abuse, promote their general welfare, protect them from harm and treat them with dignity and respect. 

“It is the duty of every local authority to ensure that the welfare of the children, who are privately fostered within their area, is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted.” 

Private fostering is an arrangement made between a child’s parent and a private foster carer. It occurs when a child or young person under 16 - or under 18 years if they are disabled - is cared for and provided with accommodation for more than 28 days, by an adult who is not a close relative.  

A close relative could be a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt. They could be a full or half relation, and could be related by marriage. A step-parent would also be included.  

Examples of Private Fostering
  • Teenager living with a friend’s family because of difficulties with his or her own family
  • Children living with a parent’s unmarried partner when the parent leaves the home (for example is imprisoned) 
  • Children who are sent to this country for education or health care while their parents remain abroad 
  • Children at boarding schools who stay with a guardian during the summer holiday  
Teachers, health and other professionals should notify the local authority of a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention, where they are not satisfied that the arrangement has been notified.

Northumberland County Council can organise an initial visit to the child and private foster carers and the council also arranges to visit privately fostered children at regular intervals. Children should be given the contact details of the social worker who will be visiting them while they are being privately fostered.

If you know or recognise that a child is being privately fostered, encourage the parent or carer of the child to notify Northumberland’s Children’s Social Care Services. You should follow this action up by notifying them yourself. Without notification Children’s Social Care is unable to check whether the child is being adequately cared for. 
For further information or to make a referral contact OneCall on 01670 536400
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