AN estimated 10,000 children in the UK are privately fostered but local authorities are only aware of a small number of them. By law the local authority must be informed of these arrangements.
To ensure the safety of privately fostered children living in Thurrock, the council is running a free information session on private fostering on Tuesday 11 November.
Private fostering describes an arrangement lasting 28 days or more where somebody other than a close relative cares for somebody else’s child.
The free information session aims to raise awareness of what a ‘private fostering arrangement’ is, why it is important to tell the council about these arrangements, and to provide support and advice. The session is open to anyone involved in private fostering. Professionals and voluntary groups working with families are also encouraged to attend.
Carmel Littleton, Director of Children’s Services said: “We know of 11 children in Thurrock who are privately fostered, but strongly suspect that there are many more that we know nothing about.
“There are many reasons why private fostering may occur from a teenager not getting along with their parents and deciding to go and stay with a boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s family, to children from abroad coming to live with a host family. Whatever the reason, it is essential that we know about it.
“For the vast majority, private foster care can be a very positive experience, and the children are well cared for, but for some children they may be in a highly vulnerable situation or may be at risk.
“Although, the council does not place these children in private foster care, it is important that we are made aware of such arrangement, so that we can ensure their safety and provide the people involved with the support and guidance they need.”
The free information session is on Tuesday 11 November, 9.30am-11.30am at the Culver Centre, Daiglen Drive, South Ockendon RM15 5RR
To book your place on the information session please email: email@example.com