Kent County Council is raising awareness of ‘invisible’ children who are being looked after by private foster care arrangements…
Private fostering is an arrangement whereby a child under-16 or under-18 with disabilities is looked after by someone who is not a close relative for more than 28 days continuously. Legally, these carers are required to inform the local authority of the arrangement to ensure the child is safe and the family supported. However, many carers are unaware of this.
In a bid to safeguard these children, Kent County Council is campaigning to raise awareness of young people in private foster care.
The 4-11 July is Private Fostering Week, during which time the county council is calling upon anyone who knows of private fostering arrangements to report it.
Kent County Council and the Kent Safeguarding Children Board revealed there had been a dip in the number of private fostering arrangements reported, with 72 cases in 2015/16—a reduction of 88 when compared to 2014/15.
Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services Peter Oakford said: “Most private foster carers do a fantastic job, stepping in to care for a child when their parents are unable to do so.
“However, if we do not know about these arrangements, these children are potentially very vulnerable.
“If you suspect a child may be in a private fostering arrangement, please contact us so we can make sure the child is safe, their needs are being met and the carer is being supported to do their best for that child.”
Children classed as being in private foster care include arrangements where the parent is ill; young people who stay with others because of family tensions; children staying with families while attending school away from home; children from abroad whose parents do not reside in this country; and children cared for by their parents’ partners while the parent lives elsewhere.