Who arranges private fostering?
Private fostering is arranged by the proposed carer and the child's birth parents, or sometimes older children themselves.
Local authorities do not formally approve or register private foster carers, but they must satisfy themselves that the welfare of children who are, or will be, privately fostered within their area is being, or will be, satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted.
Are private foster carers paid?
Any financial arrangement is made between private foster carers and birth parents. As the child's carer you may be eligible to claim certain benefits, e.g. child benefit, but any maintenance payments you receive from the child's parents will be taken into account if you apply for means-tested benefits. Social services will offer advice on benefits.
Telling social services
The law says that anyone who is planning to enter into a private fostering arrangement - or is already privately fostering a child - must tell social services.
How do I know whether an arrangement meets the criteria for private fostering?
You need to think about these questions:
- Am I looking after a child who is not a close relative?
- Are they living with me?
- Is this a full-time arrangement?
- Will it last for 28 days or more?
If you've answered 'yes' to all of these questions, this is classed as private fostering and you must notify Powys County Council about it.
Why must I tell social services?
It's important that social services know about the private fostering arrangements for several reasons:
- They must be happy that the arrangements are in the best interests of the child, e.g. the private fostering home is safe and secure and that all household members are suitable to look after the child. Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks will be carried out on all household members aged over 16.
- They will give the private foster carer as much support and advice as they need.