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Could you be a private foster carer and not know it?

Are you private fostering?

Are you or someone you know, looking after a friend or relative’s child for 28 days or more? If you are not a “close relative” e.g. an aunt, uncle or grandparent, you may be private fostering. If that is the case, Ealing Council has lots of support to offer.

Private fostering

If you or anyone you know are looking after a friend or relative’s child for 28 days or more, and the arrangement is made privately, without the knowledge of the council’s children’s services, then it could be private fostering.

A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately by a parent or guardian for a child under 16, or under 18 if they are disabled, to live with someone who is not a ‘close relative’ for 28 days or more.

Close relatives include legal step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts. If you are looking after your partner’s child but you are not married or in a civil partnership then that is also considered private fostering.

Why you should let the council know

It is a legal requirement to let the council know so that it can check that the arrangement is safe and suitable for the child.

It also means that children, parents and private foster carers get the services and support they need from the council.

This includes giving the child the opportunity to talk to a social worker about their situation and any worries they may have.

Carers are also given support and can join optional training and parenting sessions. The children’s services team also provides reassurance to parents that their child is being well cared for and they make sure they have regular contact with their child.

One mother whose child stayed with a family friend while she was in hospital had the support of private fostering social worker, Memory. In her feedback to the council, she said: “Memory was very respectful and supportive and although my child rarely spoke with people he was happy to speak to Memory.”

She said that knowing her son had access to Memory put her mind at rest whilst she was away. She also said: “Memory was helpful and did not judge you…there was nothing she could have done better.”
For more information on support available and how to notify the council please visit our website.
You can watch a short video about private fostering and the help available.

For more information on support available and how to notify the council please visit our website

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