North Yorkshire County Council is urging people across the county to continue to help them ensure the safety and well-being of children who are being cared for by someone who is not a close relative.
The call to action is part of the national campaign called Somebody Else’s Child, which is run by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, and runs from March 21 to 27 with the aim of raising awareness of private fostering.
Private fostering describes an arrangement when someone who is not a close relative cares for another person’s child for an extended period of time. Although this is done by private arrangement, legally the parent and the carer must notify the local authority where the child is going to live so that the local authority can ensure that the child is being properly looked after. Nobody knows exactly how many children are privately fostered, but in 2001 the Department of Health estimated that there could be as many as 10,000 in England and Wales. It is feared that some of these ‘invisible’ children could be at risk of abuse, or victims of trafficking.
North Yorkshire County Council is asking people who work with children in particular to be aware of private fostering and inform them immediately if they suspect such an arrangement. They say the general public also has a part to play.
Judith Hay, Assistant Director for Children’s Social Care from North Yorkshire County Council said: “Everybody has a role in keeping our children safe – whether you are a teacher, youth worker, neighbour or just chat to the other mums and dads on the school gate. If you hear about a child who is being privately fostered please let us know immediately so we can ensure the child is being kept safe.”
For more information on private fostering visit the Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk .