Documents to download

A fostering arrangement is different to adoption. When a child is adopted, legal responsibility sits entirely with the new parents, as if the child had been born to them. Fostering is not such a dramatic step: a fostered child, even one who is in the care of a local authority, can return to their birth parents if the circumstances are appropriate. Alternatively, fostering can be a staging post to adoption (for example, until suitable adoptees are matched).

If a child is taken into the care of a local authority, then the local authority might place the child with foster carers. Such foster carers have to be approved by the local authority or a fostering agency, unless it is a temporary placement. Approval is a detailed process, culminating in a fostering panel considering a person’s suitability to foster, and making a recommendation to the fostering service.

For children not in the care of a local authority, a private fostering arrangement can be made. This is an arrangement lasting at least 28 days where the foster carer is someone other than a parent, relative, or someone who has parental responsibility for the child.

The local authority must be notified of such an arrangement; notification must include details of the child and the foster carer and a local authority officer must regularly visit the child. The local authority has the power to prevent or stop a private fostering arrangement.

However, there is no need to notify the local authority of a private fostering arrangement if it intended to be less than 28 days in duration, or if the arrangement is with a parent, relative (grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt) or person with parental responsibility for them.

In addition to a private fostering arrangement, a relative such as a grandparent, can seek to foster their grandchild if the child is in care. They can become a local authority foster carer if they gain approval, or offer a temporary placement for 16 weeks without needing approval.

The Library Standard Note Support for family and friends carers looking after children (SN/SP/2967) might also be of interest, which also includes details of support available to local authority foster carers.

Documents to download

Related posts