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Somebody else’s child

Somebody else’s child. Private Fostering HCC policy and procedure . Overview. What is Private Fostering? Understand why children and young people might be Privately Fostered

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Somebody else’s child

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  1. Somebody else’s child Private Fostering HCC policy and procedure

  2. 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 • Understand the role of the child’s social worker in the assessment and monitoring of Private Fostering arrangements

  3. A Private arrangement between a parent and a carer 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 To live away from home and be cared for by someone who isn’t a parent, a person with PR or a ‘close relative’

  4. It is not private fostering when: • Carer is the child’s parent or has parental responsibility • Carer is a close relative as defined by The Children Act 1989 • The placement lasts for less than 28 days, unless the child returns to the same carer after a short break back home • Young person is over 16 or over 18 if disabled • Young person is ‘looked after’ and is placed with approved foster carers or family and friends carers who have been temporality approved as foster carers • Child is being cared for in their own home

  5. Vulnerable Children • Privately fostered children are children ‘living away from home’ and are potentially vulnerable • Private Fostering is a safeguarding issue – Regulations are in place under the Children Act 1989 to keep children in these arrangements safe • By law parents and carers must notify the Local Authority of these arrangements – most don’t Many privately fostered children don’t receive the services and protection they are entitled to because they are not known to their local authority • The majority of notifications come from professionals who identify that a child is not living with their parents

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. Responsibilities of the parent • Notify the local authority of their intention to place a child, or remove a child, from private fostering • Give adequate information to the carer about the child • Inform carers and the local authority of any change of address • Planning for the child's future • Maintaining the child • Exercising parental responsibility appropriately

  10. Responsibilities of the private foster carer • Notify the local authority of their intention to receive a child • Participate in a full assessment of themselves and their household’s suitability to foster children privately • Inform the local authority of any change of circumstances within the household • Allow the child to be visited by the local authority and to be seen alone • Maintain contact with the parents and encourage visits to take place

  11. Local authorities have a duty to: • Raise awareness of the legal requirement to notify them of private fostering arrangements • Satisfy themselves that the welfare of the privately fostered child is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted • Advise and support children who are privately fostered, their parents and carers

  12. To fulfil it’s legal duties Hampshire Children’s Services must • Follow up all notifications of private fostering arrangements within set time scales • Appoint a social worker to make contact with the child’s parent/s, the child and the carer • Recognise, and treat as such, private fostering arrangements that happen within families we are working with • Assess the carer, other members of their household, the accommodation and arrangements for the child, or young person, to ensure they are safe and suitable • Assess applications for exemptions to the normal fostering limit of three children

  13. We must also • Assess the child’s needs to ensure they are being met • Take action to protect the child where the arrangements are assessed as not safe or suitable by considering the need for specific requirements and prohibitions • Make sure the young person’s wishes and feelings are known and taken into account • Offer support and advise to the child, carer and parents, including support needed so that the child can return home • Visit the child regularly within set timescales to monitor that the arrangement remains safe and suitable for the child

  14. HCC ProcedureNotification/Action Required Within 7 Working Days • Hantsdirect Children’s Reception Team receive and record details of notification of planned/existing PF arrangement on swift and forward to R&A team where the child will be/is living or • Private Fostering arrangement, or planned arrangement, is identified on open case – private fostering arrangement must be recorded on swift • Within 7 working days of notification/identification of PF arrangement R&A worker, or child’s social worker must: • Visit the private foster home • Visit/speak to the private foster carer and all members of household • Visit and speak to the child alone • Speak to, and if possible visit, the parents/person with PR • Issue Private Fostering letters and forms to carer/parent (on line forms) • Complete Initial Assessment for new referrals • If child already in placement District Manager’s decision within 24 hours that child not at immediate risk pending completion of PF assessment • Where unclear initially if the arrangement will continue beyond 28 days the child and carer should be visited, and parent/s contacted, as a minimum within7 days

  15. Private Fostering Assessment • Decision re: suitability of the arrangement to be made by District Manager within 42 days of notification, or as soon as outcome of CRB check(s) is known, which ever is the sooner • Assessment completed by child’s social worker or R&A worker (case may be transferred to CIN social worker) • Assessment consists of Core Assessment plus assessment of private foster carers suitability and capacity to care (including the suitability of any other members of the household and the suitability of the accommodation). • Local authority checks (addresses in last 5 years), Statutory checks, medical check to be completed on carer/s and CRB check to be completed on carer/s and all members of household over 16 • Legal requirements of private foster carers to be issued to carers and Agreement Form completed between parents and carers • Social worker must notify other statutory agencies and parent’s LA, if not HCC, of Private Fostering arrangement

  16. Exceptions, Requirements, Prohibitions, Disqualifications District Manager has authority to: • grant exceptions to the usual fostering limit of three children – reviewed 6 monthly • impose specific requirements on a carer • waive a person’s disqualification to privately foster • in consultation with legal department prohibit a person from privately fostering children where: • Person not suitable • Premises not suitable • Prejudicial to the welfare of the child

  17. Supervising the arrangement - ensuring the needs of the child are being met and the arrangement remains suitable Statutory visits (Regulation 8) Visiting frequency: • Within 7 working days of notification/identification of PF arrangement • Weekly until DM decision made that arrangement is satisfactory (HCC policy) • Minimum 6 weekly during first year of placement / or from date local authority became aware if later than start date • Twelve weekly in any second or subsequent years • In addition when reasonably requested by child, carer or parent • Following a change in circumstances • Following a complaint from or concerning a child • Visits recorded on statutory visiting form and correct swift profile note header picked Reviewing • Arrangement to be formally reviewed annually – chaired by Team Manager for child

  18. Placement endings and post 16/18 • Parents and carers must notify the local authority when an arrangement ends • Social worker must notify other statutory agencies and parent’s LA, if not HCC, of the ending of the arrangement • Arrangement automatically ceases when young person 16/18 if disabled • Young person in PF arrangement on 16th birthday becomes ‘qualifying care leaver’ and is entitled to provision of services (care leaver status must be recorded on swift)

  19. Data Quality and Management overview • Local authorities must monitor compliance with regulations • Report annually to Director of Children’s Services and Local Safeguarding Children’s Board • Report annually to Government – number of notifications, arrangements starting, ceasing, ongoing), assessments and visits within timescales • Data quality – correct recording on swift of starting and ending of PF arrangement, notification, district manager decision and statutory visits - essential

  20. Full Private Fostering Procedure http://www3.hants.gov.uk/proc1710.docPrivate Fostering letter/form templates Private FosteringSwift process SWIFT - Children & Families - Care Episodes - Private Fostering Guidance Thank you

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