Taken from Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures Manual:
A private fostering arrangement is one made without the involvement of Children's Social Care for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative for 28 days or more. This may include children sent from abroad, asylum seeking and refugee children, teenagers staying in short term arrangements with friends or other non relatives and language students with host families. (A close relative is defined as grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt - whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership - or step-parent).
Private foster carers and those with Parental Responsibility are required to notify the local authority of their intention to privately foster or have a child fostered.
Teachers, health and other practitioners should notify Children's Social Care of any private fostering arrangements that come to their attention; unless they are satisfied that Children's Social Care have already been notified of the arrangement.
Children's Social Care must satisfy themselves as to the suitability of the private foster carer, their household and accommodation.
Where advance notice is given, this should be prior to the commencement of the arrangement. There are powers to impose requirements on the carer or, if there are serious concerns about an arrangement, to prohibit it.
Children's Social Care must visit privately fostered children at regular intervals (a minimum of 6 weekly visits in year 1 and thereafter a minimum of 12 weekly) to ensure that their welfare is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted and that private foster carers and parents are provided with any required advice. The child should be seen alone unless it is inappropriate to do so.
Children should be given contact details of the social care worker who will be visiting them while they are being privately fostered.
The Children Act 1989 creates a number of offences in connection with private fostering, including the failure to notify an arrangement or to comply with any requirement or prohibition imposed by Children's Services. Certain people are disqualified from being private foster carers.
To find out more about Private Fostering from the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children's Board please Click Here