What can you expect if you are a private foster carer?

If you are a parent or private foster carer here is what you can expect from us.

What can parents 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 will be asked to give basic information about yourself, your child and the person who is planning to care for them. We will 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 will arrange for your child to be visited on a regular basis by a named worker. We will 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 will inform you immediately.

What can private foster carers expect from us?

Prior to the child arriving, we will:

  • 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 will:

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

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

It is 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 is 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 on 0800 083 7744.