Private fostering arrangements occur when a child under the age of 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for by a non-related adult under a private arrangement between parent and carer that lasts for at least 28 days. A private foster carer may be a family friend, a parent of the child’s friend, or someone previously unknown to the family who is prepared to foster a child. Local authorities have a duty to promote and encourage notification of private fostering arrangements, as well as to ensure that the welfare of privately fostered children is satisfactorily safeguarded. Visits to the children are included in these responsibilities.
The report’s key points are as follows:
- 77 new private fostering arrangements were reported during the year, compared with 69 in the previous year;
- 76 children received an initial visit during the year, 75% of which were within 7 days of the beginning of the fostering arrangement;
- 60% of the children whose private fostering arrangement began in the year were born in the UK; 40% were born in other countries. 90% were aged 10 or over on 31 March 2015.