Are you looking after a child who is not your own? You could be a private foster carer. A private foster carer is someone who is not a close relative who looks after a child under 16 (or 18 if the child is disabled) for more than 28 days. A close relative is a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt uncle or step-parent, any other relative such as a cousin or great-aunt would be a private foster carer. Such an arrangement is made privately between parents and carers, however by law it must be notified to the Children’s Services Contact Team before the arrangement starts. If you are already looking after a child in this situation you must inform them straight away. It is an offence not to do so. However Children’s Services recognise that most people are not aware of this, so please do not worry about coming forward.
Children’s Services have a legal duty to visit the child and make the necessary checks to ensure that the home is suitable for the child you are looking after. A social worker would then visit every six weeks during the first year. If you think that this applies to you, please contact the Children’s Services Contact Team on 0207 527 7400. An adviser will be happy to discuss the situation with you and offer advice. You are also welcome to speak to myself, Fiona or Anisa for guidance.