Fostering does not necessarily have to be arranged by the Local Authority. It is possible that a child can be privately cared for and accommodated by someone other than a parent, someone with parental responsibility or a relative. This is a private arrangement set up between the person with parental responsibility and the private foster carer.
It is important to note that a child is not privately fostered if the person caring for him and accommodating him has done so for a period of less than 28 days and does not intend to do so for any longer period.
It is crucial that private foster parents are aware they have limited rights in relation to the care of that child. A foster parent does not have parental responsibility for the child. Their rights to do anything in respect of taking care of the child stem from a voluntary arrangement made with the person who does have parental responsibility. It is also vital to note that the person with parental responsibility can revoke the arrangement at any time and call the police for assistance in returning their child to their care. The foster parent has no right to retain the care of the child against the will of the person with parental responsibility unless there is a Child Arrangements Order in force naming the person as someone with whom the child is to live.
If you are intending to foster a child privately you must notify the appropriate Local Authority as proposed at least six weeks before the private fostering arrangement is to begin or where the private fostering arrangement is to begin within six weeks, immediately. The Local Authority must ensure that the prospective foster carer is given such advice as needed as a breach of the duty may render the foster parent liable to prosecution for an offence. The sentence could be for a maximum of six months in prison or a fine.
If you have any queries in relation to:
- The legal duties and liabilities of the private foster parent;
- The legal duties of the local authority;
- The financial implications upon the foster carer;
- The offences; and
- Removal by the local authority etc.
Please do not hesitate contact one of our experienced Family and Children Law solicitors on 0115 950 3231.