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Private foster carers urged to find out about the support available

Carers from across Staffordshire who privately foster children are being reminded that help is at hand in a new campaign.

Private Fostering Week runs from 9 to 16 July and will highlight the importance of notifying the council about private fostering arrangements.

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 years old (under 18 if they have a disability) is cared for by someone who is not their birth parent or a “close relative”. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more.

Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts.

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:

“We all have a role to play in helping to keep children safe and it’s important that we know about arrangements where people are looking after someone else’s children.

“Once we know about any arrangements, our teams can carry out their legal duty to ensure that the child is safe and well looked after.   At the same time, teams will also make sure that private foster carers themselves are supported appropriately, by organising regular visits and offering advice and support.”

For further information on private fostering visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/privatefostering  or to report that a child is being privately fostered please call First Response on 0800 13 13 126.

A private foster carer could be:

  • An extended family member, such as great aunt or cousin or great grandparent
  • A family friend or parent of a friend
  • A host family, caring for a child whilst they study in the UK

The type of help and support available includes:

  • Parenting support and advice
  • Advice about education
  • Training courses
  • Signposting and support to access other relevant services
  • Advice about benefits
  • Help in bringing families in crisis back together