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Private fostering

Private fostering

What is private fostering?

Private fostering is an arrangement when a parent asks someone who is not a close relative to look after their child under 16, or under 18 if the child is disabled, for 28 days or more. Although this is done by a private arrangement, legally the parent and the carer must notify Wokingham Borough Council so that they can ensure that the child is being properly looked after.

Close relatives are defined as the child’s grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or step-parents.

Private fostering is not the same as regular fostering as parents choose their private foster carers. The Council is not involved in the process. Parents or legal guardians still have full parental responsibility for the child.

Tell us about private fostering and receive support

If your child is living in a private fostering arrangement, or if you are planning for them to live in a private fostering arrangement then, by law Wokingham Borough Council needs to be informed.

We are obliged to oversee the arrangements and to promote the well-being of the child to ensure they are protected and their needs are met. We offer advice and support to carers and parents involved in these arrangements.

Your responsibilities

Although the private foster carer will be taking on the day-to-day care of your child you will still have parental responsibility. You should remain involved in all important decisions concerning your child. It is up to you to ensure the private fostering arrangements are suitable for your child and that they continue to remain so. As the child’s parent, financial responsibility remains with you. Financial arrangements are made directly between yourself and the carer.

It is important you give the private foster carer as much information as possible about the child’s family history, previous life experiences, health and medical history.

You also need to let us know

  • If your child moves out of the house they are living in - or if you are aware of anyone else moving in
  • If you have any concerns about the level of care your child is receiving
  • If your private fostering arrangements change in anyway

What happens next?

A social worker will be allocated to your child to ensure they are happy, safe and well cared for. The social worker will arrange to visit your child and their carer(s), and where possible yourself as the child’s parent. A decision will be made to determine whether this would be the best arrangement for your child following an inspection of the accommodation, an interview and speaking to all other members of the carer’s household. All members of the household will need to complete a disclosure and barring service (DBS) police check and enquiries will be made to guarantee the suitability of the private foster carer who will be looking after your child. Other agencies already involved with your child (e.g. school, health visitors etc.) may be contacted.

More information

Read our Private fostering information leaflet (PDF document) to find out more.

For more information, or to notify us about a private fostering arrangement (in order to access our support) call us on 0118 908 8002 or email triage@wokingham.gov.uk

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