Private fostering services in North Yorkshire have been rated as good by Ofsted inspectors.
The county council is only authority in the country so far to receive this high rating for a service which looks after some of society’s most vulnerable young people.
Private foster carers are those people that look after someone else’s child full-time, for more than 28 days and are not the parent or a close relative. Close relatives include a civil partner, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister.
If a child is in a private fostering arrangement, the county council must be told so that it can check it is suitable for the child.
Recently, Ofsted inspected North Yorkshire’s private fostering service and has given a rating of “good” for:
-the quality of its service;
-its overall effectiveness;
-the way it keeps children and young people safe; and
-its leadership and management.
The report has been published just as the council is starting its 2013 Private Fostering Awareness campaign which will see new posters and leaflets distributed to primary and secondary schools across North Yorkshire.
County Councillor Tony Hall, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services said :
Privately fostered children and young people can be amongst the most vulnerable young people in the UK, so we are very pleased the Ofsted inspectors said that our awareness raising activities are effective and that people understand their duty to get in touch with us.
It was also encouraging that they highlighted the quality of information on our website, which can be easily translated into a number of languages, and that we make good use of the media and social networking to increase understanding of private fostering.
The report said both private foster carers and the young people they looked after enjoyed a positive experience. One carer said the process “was very straightforward – it was all made clear to us from the beginning.
One young person said:
I told them I wanted to stay here and they respected my decision” and another added: “They were always there when I needed them. I could always get through to my social worker.
Ofsted said there had been a “demonstrable improvement” since the previous inspection.