PRIVATE FOSTERING IN BOURNEMOUTH: A MULTI AGENCY APPROACH Presentation to Bournemouth 2026 Sarah Stewart, Team Manager Private Fostering 10 December 2013 OVERVIEW • What is Private Fostering? • Understand why children and young people might be Privately Fostered • What are the roles and responsibilities of parents, carers, the local authority and other agencies in private fostering arrangements • The role of the child's social worker in the assessment and monitoring of Private Fostering arrangements • Understand how to make a referral or how to seek further advice and support regarding possible private fostering arrangements A private arrangement between parent and carer. To live away from home and be cared for by someone who is not a parent, a person with PR or a ‘close relative’ For a child who is under 16 (under 18 if disabled) What is Private Fostering? (legally defined as; Step parent, Grandparent, Sister, Brother, Aunt or Uncle) For 28 days or more WHY CHILDREN MAY BECOME PRIVATELY FOSTERED • • • • • • • • Parental illness Substance misuse Mental health issues Parent in prison Family crisis Row with parents Decision of child with, or without, parent’s consent Parents gone overseas or working elsewhere in UK OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES • • • • • • • To complete education Attending a language school During boarding school holidays Sent to UK for a ‘better life’ / asylum seekers Parent from overseas studying in UK From overseas with a view to adoption Trafficked into the UK Safeguarding – whose responsibility? • Private foster carers are responsible for providing day to day care that promotes and safeguards the child’s welfare • Parents retain PR and overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting their child’s welfare • Other agencies and professionals have a safeguarding duty to notify the local authority of private fostering arrangements that they are aware of • Local authorities have statutory duties in relation to Private Fostering arrangements • Private Fostering Services are inspected by Ofsted Local Authorities have a duty to: Satisfy themselves that the welfare of the privately fostered child is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted and to determine the suitability of all aspects of the Private Fostering arrangements in accordance with the regulations Advise and support children who are privately fostered, their parents and carers Promote awareness in their area, amongst both professionals and the wider community of the legal requirement to notify them of private fostering arrangement We must also: Raise the number of notifications in general and in particular the notifications of arrangements before they start. Produce an annual report to the LSCB Report directly to the Department of Education on an annual basis regarding the number of notifications and how well they have met their duties. The Regulations 2005 require that: • The person who proposes care for a child notifies the Local Authority in writing six weeks in advance or immediately if the arrangement is due to begin within the next six weeks. It is an offence for a Private Foster carer not to report a private fostering arrangement. • An agency who becomes aware of such an arrangement ensures that the Local Authority is notified. • When the child moves into a Private Fostering arrangement the Local Authority must be informed within 48 hours. If this has not happened for any reason the Local Authority must be informed immediately Actions of Private Fostering team Once notified of either a proposed or actual Private Fostering arrangement a social worker of the Local Authority must visit the placement within 7 working days. The social worker must speak to all members of the household and must speak to the child alone. Visits must also be made to those with parental responsibility (where it is practical). Children Social Care checks and statutory checks including personal and employment reference and medical checks will be undertaken and a DBS check (if not completed by a language school) will be completed on all household member over 16+ Within 42 working days of the notification of the proposed or actual arrangement the Local Authority must make a decision on the suitability of the placement and complete an assessment accordingly. If considered that the arrangement is suitable the child must be visited by a social worker and spoken to alone at intervals no longer than 6 weeks for the first year and intervals not longer than 12 weeks thereafter. The Private Foster Carer must allow all visits and a written report must be completed after each visit. The local authority must be informed within 48 hours of any change of circumstance, including ending the arrangement, any changes to the household or a member of the household being charged or cautioned by police. Local Authorities have the power to impose requirements on Private Foster Carer such as the age, number and sex of children that they privately foster. The Local Authority can impose a prohibition on a person that they consider is not suitable to privately foster. Assessment and monitoring of arrangements In Bournemouth we have set up a dedicated team of social workers to receive all notifications and assess suitability of arrangements. The team currently consists of: • • • 1 Team Manager 1 Practice Manager 6 Social Workers Referral process Children First 01202 458101 Direct from language schools [email protected] Notification form sent directly to Will take initial information and pass the notification on to Private Fostering team [email protected] If in any doubt please contact the Private Fostering team for advice, guidance and support: 01202 454971 How you can help? Frontline professionals and their employing organisations coming into contact with children are in a unique position to identify potential private fostering arrangements and encourage carers and parents to contact Children Social Care Teachers and learning support staff including independent sector, GPs, Health Visitors, Paediatric Nurses and Doctors, Police Officer, childcare professionals working in the voluntary sector, Sure Start and Early Year workers, Housing and the Voluntary Sector play an important role in identification. Professional duty to report Your role is initially one of encouraging the parent or carer to report the notification Should the parent or carer fail to do so, you should contact Children Social Care via the Private Fostering team Promoting the message We want you to display the leaflets and posters in your own professional setting. Contact: [email protected] to place an order for publicity material We want you to think about how you receive information about Private Fostering in your professional and work based training and how you can disseminate your knowledge to other colleagues Children will be best protected where there is a culture of Multi-agency ownership of the Private Fostering agenda and awareness is built into professional training and development programmes – just as we are doing today. And finally, when you think of Private Fostering think of Victoria Climbie. THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO LISTEN HAVE YOU ANY QUESTIONS?