Private fostering advice offered as campaign week is launched

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Do you know a child or young person who is living away from home?

If you are caring for a child under 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) who is not your child and you are not an immediate relative this may be a Private Fostering arrangement.

During Private Fostering Week, Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging anyone who knows about a child or young person living away from their immediate family (a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle or step parent by marriage) for 28 days or more, to come forward.

Richard Roberts, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Please get in touch to let us know if you have a child staying with you for more than 28 days, it is a legal requirement. There are lots of very good reasons why this happens, all we want is the chance to see that all is well and if you or the child you are caring for, needs any help.”

There may be many reasons why children/young people are living away from home with someone other than their parents or an immediate relative. Here are some examples of private fostering arrangements:

•Tara, 15, and has lived with her father and his partner since she was 5. They never married and have recently split up. Tara has decided she wants to live with her father’s ex-partner.

•Shane, 11, and Katie, 7, live with their mother who has mental health issues and has been in hospital for a month. Shane and Katie have been staying with their cousin Jenny and her family.

• Gustav, 14, has come to the UK from Russia to learn English for 8 weeks and has been staying with a host family.

• Tendai, 6, had been brought to the UK by his mother from Nigeria and was left with a family friend whom he refers to as “auntie”, whilst his mother returned to Nigeria. There has been no contact with his mother since and his “auntie” has continued to care for him.

• Jake, 17, has cerebral palsy. His father recently passed away following a short illness and prior to his death arranged for a family friend to care for him.

If you are the parent/carer or are a professional who knows of a child or young person who is not living with their parents or you need help or advice about Private Fostering arrangements, please contact Hertfordshire County Council Customer Services Centre on 0300 123 4043.

As part of Private Fostering Week Hertfordshire County Council will be hosting a webchat with Private Fostering social worker June White on Thursday, July 9 between 2pm and 4pm on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hertfordshirefostering