A major campaign is being launched in Cheshire East to increase awareness of ‘Private Fostering’.
Carers, parents and workers in the health and education sectors in Cheshire are being urged to help Cheshire East Council ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people. They are asked to let the Council know about any children who are being cared for by someone who is not a close relative.
The promotion is linked to a national campaign called ‘Somebody Else's Child’, which is run by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF), and aims to raise awareness of private fostering. The campaign runs from February 22 to 28.
Private fostering is when a child under 16 (if disabled, under 18) is looked after for more than 28 days by an adult who is not a close relative and by private arrangement between parent and carer. Close relatives are parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers or sisters.
It is estimated there are 10,000 children in England and Wales who are not living with a direct relative. Children and Families Services have a legal requirement to ensure these children’s welfare is being safeguarded and to check on the suitability of the adults looking after them.
If you are privately fostering or your child is privately fostered for 28 days or more, you should let the Children and Families Service know immediately by contacting 01625 374700. Failure to do so is not only an offence but could put the child’s safety at risk. People who are private fostering can receive advice and support, and if you have not notified your local authority, you could be missing out.
More information can be found on the Cheshire East Council website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk or by going to www.privatefostering.org.uk
Cabinet member with responsibility for the Welfare of Children and Families, Councillor Paul Findlow said: “Fostering, whether privately carried out or through a local authority serves a vital service within a community and without foster carers, many children and young people would never experience the benefit of a stable family environment.
“Their welfare, however, is our priority and is why Cheshire East Council needs to know where children and young people are living and with whom. This is not so we can come along with a big stick and lots of regulations, but because we want to help and be able to provide help and advice when needed.”