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What you can expect if you're a private foster carer

If you're a parent or private foster carer here's what you can expect from us.

What parents can expect from us

Entrusting the care of your child to someone else is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is important that the private foster carer − and all other members of their household - are suitable and will take good care of your child.

If you tell us about a private fostering arrangement you'll be asked to give basic information about yourself, your child and the person who is planning to care for them. We'll then:

  • arrange to speak to all the parties involved to ensure that they fully understand what this entails and are aware of their responsibilities
  • look with you, at other options to help your child to remain with you or help you make the best alternative arrangements
  • get their agreement to undertake some background checks to ensure their suitability, as private foster carers are not formally registered or approved
  • offer advice and assistance on how to make the arrangement work

Should the arrangement go ahead, we'll arrange for your child to be visited on a regular basis by a named worker. We'll also keep detailed records of the outcomes of those visits and regularly review our findings.

If, at any stage, we have any concerns about the arrangements for the care of your child, we'll inform you immediately.

What private foster carers can expect from us

Prior to the child arriving, we'll:

  • arrange to speak to everyone involved to ensure that they fully understand what this entails and are aware of their responsibilities
  • provide advice and support for planning the child's stay
  • help you get all the necessary information to meet the child's needs for the duration of the arrangement

Once the arrangement has begun and the child is in your care you'll:

  • receive regular visits to ensure that the arrangement is working well
  • have access to advice and support from a named worker should you require any assistance

Some of the things private foster carers need to know

If you're thinking of looking after someone else's child by private arrangement, the first thing you need to do is contact us:

  • at least 6 weeks before the proposed arrangement and later, within 48 hours of the arrangement beginning
  • immediately if the timescale is shorter, or if you're already caring for a child who is unrelated to you

It's our duty to make sure all children are kept safe, and that people wishing to become private foster carers, and all other adults in their household, are suitable. This means that:

  • they must agree to police and other checks to establish their suitability to care for other people's children
  • the accommodation in which the child will live must be also be suitable for the job of private fostering
  • the arrangements proposed for a child, matches their needs and the care provided meets those expectations

As a private foster carer you must meet these expectations and agree to regular visits to check that the arrangements are proceeding as planned. If these requirements are not met, we have the power to impose restrictions, including stopping you or members of your household from privately fostering children.

To make a private fostering arrangement is first and foremost a matter for the parents and, wherever possible, we will want to enable them to make suitable arrangements and assist the private foster carer to meet the child's needs.

When the child comes to live with you, you become responsible for their day to day care and upbringing. However, the child's parents remain fully responsible for them, not you as the private foster carer nor us as the local authority.

It's your responsibility to make sure:

  • the child is happy, healthy and that all their needs are met
  • your costs of caring for the child are adequately met − this is the responsibility of the child's parents
  • we are informed of any changes to the arrangements or your circumstances

For more advice and information Call Derbyshire tel: 01629 533190.