Raising awareness of Private Fostering

Many people know about general fostering and adoption, but Hackney’s Children Services want to raise awareness of the growing number of children being fostered privately.

Private Fostering is when parents of a child under 16 years old, or 18 if disabled, make arrangements for someone else who is not a relative to care for their child for more than 28 days.

There may be any number of reasons why this situation occurs, but fundamentally it happens when parents feel it is best for their child to be cared for temporarily by someone else, for example during a family crisis, or where an adolescent is living with friends or neighbours.

Nationally, it’s estimated that more than 20,000 children are privately fostered. In Hackney, it’s important we know that all children are looked after and well cared for.

Alan Wood, Director for Children’s Services, said: “The critical issue is that children are safe, which is why we need to hear from people who know of any private fostering arrangements. Private foster carers are also required to tell us about these arrangements, but many don’t know that.”

If you intend to foster a child privately, or are a parent making the arrangement please inform the Council, ideally, six weeks before it begins or within 48 hours if it’s an emergency arrangement. You can still tell us even if the arrangement is already in place.

A member of the Council s Access and Assessment Team will then arrange to visit the private foster carer to make sure the arrangements are suitable. They will also make regular visits and provide advice and support to carers where appropriate.

If you would like to know more about Private Fostering contact the Access and Assessment Team on 020 8356 5500 or visit: