Hull City Council offering support for people who privately foster

This week is Private Fostering Week and Hull City Council is raising awareness of what families must do if they foster privately and how they can access support.

What is private fostering?

‘Private Fostering’ is an arrangement made for the care of a child or young person under the age of 16 (under 18 if a child is disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative (close relatives are parents, step-parents, siblings, siblings of a parent and grandparents) for 28 days or more.

This could be an arrangement by mutual agreement between parents and the carers, or a situation where a child or young person has left home against their parent’s wishes and is living with a friend and the friend’s family.

In a private fostering arrangement, the parent retains Parental Responsibility for the child or young person.

Why is it important?

The local council’s Children’s Services department must be informed six weeks before any private fostering arrangement begins or at the earliest opportunity.

A social worker will visit the home to speak to the carer and the child to ensure the child is safe, undertake an assessment and make sure the family is being supported.

Birth parents, private foster carers and persons who are arranging for a child to be privately fostered are required by law to notify the local council’s Children’s Services department of the arrangement.

By informing the council, they can then help protect the welfare of children in private fostering arrangements and ensure the whole family is being supported.

What support is available for private foster carers?

Support may include:

  • Advice on benefits
  • Parenting support and advice from a social worker or Hull Fostering
  • Help in bringing families in crisis back together

Councillor Linda Tock, Portfolio Holder for children’s services said: “We are raising awareness about the legal requirement for people to let us know if they are privately fostering. Whether it’s a teenager living with friends or extended family, or children who stay with another family while their own parents are unable to care for them, maybe due to hospital admission, a prison sentence, or a family crisis.

“It is a legal requirement for people to inform the council, and we will then be able to offer support and training to both the child and the carers.”

If you are looking after a child under 16 (under 18 if they’re disabled) for more than 28 days in a row and you’re not a close relative, i.e., grandparent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt or step-parent, you must tell your local council about this arrangement.

If you’re in Hull and have made an informal arrangement for your child under 16 to live with another family member who is not a close relative, please call Hull City Council on 01482 448 879.

Visit the Hull Children Young People and Families Self Service Hub to contact us, make a referral or application. Find out more about private fostering by visiting Hull Fostering.

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