Northumberland families are being encouraged to get in touch with children’s services if they believe a child is being privately fostered to ensure they and the child receive any support that they need.
Private fostering is an arrangement made between a child’s parent and a private carer. It occurs when a child or young person under 16, or under 18 years if they are disabled, is cared for and provided with accommodation for more than 28 days, by an adult who is not a close relative.
A close relative is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, either full or half relation or by marriage. A step-parent not living with a parent would also be included.
Northumberland County Council has a responsibility to ensure that every child lives in a household which has basic safeguards against abuse and promotes their general welfare.
Any parent who makes such arrangements for their child and the carer has a responsibility to inform their local children’s services.
Paula Mead, the independent chairman of the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Concerns for the safety of children living away from home have to be put into context with the overall benefits to the developmental needs of the child and the best possible outcomes for their health and development.
“Every place in which they live should provide the same basic safeguards against abuse and promote their general welfare, protect them from harm and treat them with dignity and respect. It is the duty of every local authority to satisfy itself that the welfare of the children, who are privately fostered within their area, is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted.”
For the Morpeth and Pont-eland areas, call 01670 536000.