Are you caring for someone under the age of 16 who is living away from their parents?

Published: 21 Jun 2019

Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging anyone who knows a child or young person under 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) who is not living with their parents or an immediate family member to get in contact.

Private Fostering Awareness week runs from 8-12 July and aims to raise awareness of private fostering – when a child or young person is living away from their parents with someone who is not an immediate family member (a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle or step parent by marriage) for 28 days or more.

If you are the parent/carer or are a professional who would like help or advice about Private Fostering arrangements, please contact the council’s Customer Service Department on 0300 123 4043 to speak to the Private Fostering Team.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “There are many reasons why children and young people may be living away from home with someone other than their parents or an immediate relative.

“If we are told about private fostering arrangements, then we are able to give help and support both to the child or young person and to the carer. Our priority is to ensure that all children and young people are safe, happy, healthy and succeeding at school.”

Many parents make private arrangements for the care of their children, unaware that it is a legal requirement to inform their Local Authority of the arrangement.

These are some of the examples of Private Fostering arrangements:

• H aged 13 has not been getting on with her parents and after another argument she went to stay at a friend’s home. She has been there for three months

• T aged 15 has lived with her father and his partner since she was five. They never married and have recently split up. T has decided she wants to live with her father’s ex-partner

• S aged 11, and K aged 7, live with their mother who has mental health problems and has been in hospital for a month. S and K have been staying with their cousin Jenny and her family

• G aged 14, has come to the UK from Russia to learn English for eight weeks and has been staying with a host family

• T aged 6, had been brought from Nigeria to the UK by his mother and was left with a family friend whom he refers to as ‘auntie’, while his mother returned to Nigeria. There has been no contact with his mother since and his ‘auntie’ has continued to care for him

• J is 17 and has cerebral palsy. His father recently passed away following a short illness and he is now living with a family friend

• F is 15 and from Ireland. He has been selected for a Premiership Football Club Academy in the UK and is staying with a host family.

For more information about private fostering, visit