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Young girl being walked to school with older lady.

Is your child living with someone else?

by Gemma Melling

If your child is not living with you or a close relative, have you let the local council know?

There are many circumstances in which a child may be living with someone other than his or her parent/s or a close relative. Local authorities across the country are concerned that a number of private fostering arrangements are under reported due to lack of public and professional awareness. There are concerns children living in this arrangement maybe left vulnerable or at risk.

But what exactly is private fostering?

Private fostering is an arrangement whereby a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability) is placed for 28 consecutive days or more in the care of someone who is not the child’s parent(s). The private foster carer becomes responsible for the day-to-day care of the child whilst the parent retains parental responsibility

Some examples of private fostering arrangements include:

  • Parents are ill and may be in hospital.
  • Children or young people from overseas who visit this country for education or health care reasons.
  • Children or young people who are living with a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend’s family because of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home.
  • Children or young people whose parents work or study long or anti-social hours.
  • Children or teenagers on school holiday exchanges that last more than 28 days
  • Children or teenagers who are on sports or music sponsorships living away from their families.

Why does Knowsley Council need to know if I am caring for another child, or if my child is being cared for by someone else?

Knowsley Council need to be made aware of any arrangements so that we can carry out some essential steps to make sure that the child or young person being looked after is safe, well cared for and happy as well as providing carers’ with fostering support and guidance.

If you are a parent making private fostering arrangements or a carer about to enter into a private fostering agreement, please get in touch with our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub  (MASH) before the arrangement begins.

To contact the team and for more information call 0151 443 4311 or visit the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

How can I learn more about private fostering?

To learn more about private fostering, and the process for informing Knowsley Council about a private fostering arrangement, look at our Private Fostering Information booklet, which can be found on the Safeguarding website.