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Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

2.3 Private Fostering

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER 

This procedure sets out how Salford Children’s Services will deal with every private fostering arrangement that is identified, notified or suspected. This procedure aims to be a clear step-by-step guidance that summarises the principles and plans detailed in the Private Fostering policy established in March 2011.

Also see the flowchart which provides a visual illustration of the process. The procedure differentiates between a formal referral and an enquiry. Referrals are to be processed through the Duty and Assessment Team (DAT) and signposted to the private fostering officer.

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Greater Manchester SCB Inter Agency Procedures, Privately Fostered Children

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in November 2017 to add clarity to the definition of private fostering with regards to the legislation and children under 16 who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school.


Contents

  1. What is Private Fostering?
  2. Responsibilities
  3. Actions

    Appendix: Private Fostering - Flowchart


1. What is Private Fostering?

A privately fostered child is a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for by an adult who is not a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, step parent, sister or brother. The child is cared for in that person's home for 28 days or more or there is an intention for it to happen.

A child who is Looked After by a local authority or placed in any residential home, hospital or school (where they are receiving full-time education) is excluded from the definition. The parents or holders of Parental Responsibility (PR) will retain full parental responsibility and therefore hold a fundamental position in relation to the privately fostered child.

However, Children under 16 who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school they attend, become privately fostered children for the purposes of the legislation during that holiday period.

(Note: the local authority may exempt any person from giving written notice either for a specified period or indefinitely. This exemption may be revoked in writing at any time).

Salford City Council holds a subsidiary responsibility towards the welfare of privately fostered children and aims to enhance their outcomes whilst supporting the holders of parental responsibility and private foster carers.


2. Responsibilities

It is every professional’s responsibility to identify and notify Salford Children’s Services of any private fostering arrangement.

This needs to be done at least 6 weeks prior to its commencement [1] or as soon as possible if the placement has already commenced [2].

To complete a Regulation 4 report in cases of notification in advance [3], a Regulation 7 report [4] upon commencement of the placement and subsequent Regulation 8 reports every six weeks.

To provide support under S.67 of the Children Act 1989 as reasonably requested by the child, the parents and the private foster carers to the aim of enhancing outcomes for the privately fostered child or improving the circumstances of the placement.

To ensure access to an interpreter is provided if the child’s first language is not English or if they do not have verbal communication.

The Private Fostering Officer (PFO) in conjunction with the Service Manager, Fostering and Adoption and Head of Integrated Looked after Children’s Service hold overall responsibility for ensuring minimum standards are met, including monitoring performance.

The PFO will keep a confidential record of all requirements, prohibitions, and disqualifications and will be informed immediately of any new or proposed Private Fostering arrangement.

The PFO is responsible for annual reports to the Strategic Director and SSCB.

[1] As established in Regulation 3 of the Children Regulations 2005. Regulation 4 report to follow as in CareFirst.
[2] As in Regulation 5 of the Children Regulations 2005. Regulation 7 report to follow as in CareFirst.
[3] Based on Schedule 2 of the Children (PF Arrangements) Regulations 2005.
[4] Based on Schedule 3 of the Children (PF Arrangements) Regulations 2005.


3. Actions

The actions below are in compliance with the duties conferred upon Salford in relation to private fostering, established by the legal framework which encompasses the Children Act 1989 (S.66-70 plus schedule 7-8), the Children Act 2004 (S.44), the Children (private fostering arrangements) Regulations 2005, National Minimum Standards for PF 2005 and Disqualification from Caring for Children (England) Regulations 2002.

  1. All cases of private fostering brought to the attention of DAT should be discussed with the PFO before taking any further action [5]. This is regardless of the person who makes the referral, the current stage of the case or whether the child was previously known to Children’s Services;
  2. The PFO must ascertain that, in the view of the information held, the case constitutes private fostering and ensure full compliance with private fostering requirements and timescales;
  3. Once the placement has been confirmed as private fostering by the PFO, this will be confirmed by e-mail to the Service Manager DAT. A DAT Social Worker will then complete a Children and Families Assessment. The DAT Team will proceed to set up an electronic file on the child;
  4. The PFO and the appointed DAT SW will work together. The PFO will ensure that a Notification in writing [6] is received from the carers, consent for checks and a health declaration is obtained and checks undertaken. Disqualifications [7] or significant lack of cooperation or obstruction would warrant a prohibition to privately foster under S.69/ CA1989 and the parents will be informed;
  5. The Notification form will be scanned into Documentum and will be used to both supplement the data available on the electronic child’s file and create a separate file for the private foster carers [8];
  6. A private fostering assessment under Regulation 7 must be carried out within 7 working days and recorded on Carefirst under the child’s name as soon as possible. This must underscore the outcomes for the privately fostered child in connection with the Every Child Matters agenda (Being Health, Being Safe, Enjoying and Achieving, Making a Positive Contribution and Economic Well being). The report should be submitted to the Service Manager, Fostering and Adoption, for authorisation;
  7. Considerations must be made about the safety of the child, the appropriateness of the arrangement, the duration, contact and how Salford Children’s Services can enhance the outcomes for the privately fostered child. The level of support should be determined either by accessing universal services (level 1), provisions under a CAF (level 2) or a CIN plan (level 3 - S.17). In these instances, a CAF or CIN Plan based on a Children and Families Assessment would run in parallel to the Private Fostering Officer’s involvement, under the management of the CIN SW, working alongside the Private Fostering Officer;
  8. If any concern is identified in the course of the Private Fostering assessment, the PFO will inform DAT. If the risk is not imminent, a written prohibition to privately foster under S.69 will be issued to the private foster carers and the parents (holders of PR) prompted in writing to take action. In this instance, support will be offered to the parents to identify a suitable placement;
  9. If the outcome of the placement is satisfactory, both arranging parties shall be informed by PFO. Mediation between the parties is offered under S.67/ CA1989;
  10. The case is to be followed up by the PFO under Regulation 8 and within the timescales. Changes [9] in the placement must be notified and a record made in Carefirst observations. If the changes are significant, a re-assessment would be considered;
  11. Advice and support provision is offered throughout the involvement at the discretion of the PFO and/or at the request of the child, private foster carers or parents under S.67 of the Children Act 1989;
  12. The involvement ends when the privately fostered child turns 16 years of age (18 if disabled) or the placement comes to an end. A report is to be produced on CareFirst about the situation of the child following the end of placement. The child must always be seen alone prior to the closure of the PF electronic file;
  13. In cases where the privately fostered child moves to another local authority, a referral to the authority must be made in writing as soon as possible;
  14. Other statutory aspects regarding awareness raising, restrictions on the placement or private foster carers, appeal process, power to give financial assistance or any other relevant issue are appropriately considered in the Policy on Private Fostering.

[5] Unless high risk identified upon receipt of information.
[6] Must include all information requested under Schedule 1 of the Children Regulations 2005.
[7] As laid down on S.68 of the Children Act 1989 or Disqualification from Caring for Children (England) Regulations 2002.
[8] To the purpose of respecting confidentiality in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
[9] Those highlighted in Regulation 9 of the Children (private fostering arrangements) Regulations 2005

Related Documents

Private Fostering Notification Form

Private Fostering Consent Form

Private Fostering Regulation 4/ 7 e-Report

Private Fostering Regulation 8 e-Report

Template of Prohibition under S. 69/ CA1989

Template of Referral to other local authorities


Appendix: Private Fostering - Flowchart

Click here to view Private Fostering - Flowchart

End