Private fostering is an arrangement between a parent and a private foster carer, where the child must be under the age of 16. However, the age limit is extended to 18 if the child has disabilities. A foster carer cannot be a direct family member of the young person – meaning, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters are not considered eligible for private fostering. Instead, this type of care is referred to as kinship care. Typically, these arrangements last up to 28 days – placements lasting longer than this are known as continuous arrangement.
In the case of private fostering, parental consent is usually expected. However, there are some exceptions to this - for instance, if the child is an asylum seeker or has been trafficked. In private fostering, it is the responsibility of the parent to make any decisions about the child, even if the child is not living in their home. The foster parent will likely have some jurisdiction on doctor appointments, dentists, school trips – though, the parental guardian can override this if they wish to.
Parents and guardians should notify the local authority if a private foster placement is taking place, even if the local council aren’t involved with the placement. This is to ensure safeguarding procedures such as the National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering 2005 can be met. It is the local authority’s responsibility ensures that the new home is suitable for the young person to live in. A social worker will visit the carer’s home to speak to both the child and the carer, and carry out additional background checks. If you know someone who is privately fostering, then you should encourage them to inform local authorities. In the case where they fail to do so, then you should inform the local authorities instead.
A parent can end the private fostering placement without notice – there is no specific support for private foster carers. However, if you do feel a child is better off in your care there are Special Guardianship Orders in which you can apply for.
With regard to the financing the foster placement, it is the responsibility of the parent to do so. However, the carer can also check into any fostering benefits they may be entitled - for instance, you may be eligible to child tax credit and other funds. Parents are unable to claim these benefits if their children no longer live with them.
If you would like to find out more about private fostering, do not hesitate to contact our specialist team.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.