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Private Fostering?

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Are you looking after somebody else's child as a favour? Or do you know of anyone else who is doing so? If the answer to either of these questions is yes then you may need to get in contact with us.

When a child or young person aged under 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) lives with someone who is not a close family member for a period of 28 days or more, this is known as a Private Fostering arrangement and you need to inform the council.

Close family members include grandparents, step-parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, both blood relatives and by marriage or partnership.

Monday 3rd to Friday 7th July is National Private Fostering Week. There are an estimated 10,000 children living in private fostering arrangements in England and Wales, but last year only just over 1,500 were reported to local authorities. While most of these children will be safe, others may be at risk of abuse and neglect at the hands of their private foster carers.

The aim of the week is to raise awareness with anyone who works with children — teachers, childcare and health care professionals — to play their part. Those who come into regular contact with children can help identify potentially vulnerable children, helping to keep them safe and supporting families.

Councillor Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children's Services explained: "We want to raise awareness about private fostering, especially as there is a legal obligation to inform your local council if you or someone you know is doing it. Many people are not aware of this however and so we don't always get told.

"We all want to help out friends where we can but it is important that everything is properly managed and the welfare of the child or young person takes priority. So please get in touch with us if you think you could be privately fostering or know someone who may be. As a local authority we simply need to check who the child is living with and that they are being well looked after. We can also give help and advice to carers, parents and the children."

For more information please contact our First Step Team on 0800 160 1900, email: firststep@buckscc.gov.uk or visit: www.buckscc.gov.uk/privatefostering

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