Do you look after someone else’s child? Tell Somerset County Council today

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Have you been looking after someone else’s child for more than 28 days? If so, Somerset County Council is urging you to get in touch right away for help and support.

Many people look after other people’s children for a night or a weekend. But if a child is living with you – and you are not an immediate relative – for more than 28 days, it may mean you are privately fostering them.

There are different reasons why children and young people may become privately fostered:

  • their parents live overseas and they have come to the UK to attend school
  • their parents are ill and cannot look after them
  • their parents work away from home, possibly abroad
  • they are teenagers who are estranged from their families.

Somerset County Council offers support and advice to people who are privately fostering, and to parents whose children are living with someone else. The authority can provide practical and emotional support, and work to help rebuild relationships between children and their parents.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “It is natural to want to help a child or young person who needs extra support because they are unable to live with their families.

“However if you have been caring for someone else’s child for 28 days or longer, we, as the County Council, need to know. It is vital for us to be able to confirm that that child or young person is safe, and to ensure their needs are being met.

“Children’s Services can play a vital role, bringing the private foster carer, parent, child and school or educational provider together for the benefit of the child. We also offer all people involved support and advice, including for meetings with parents and children.

“If you think you or someone else might be privately fostering, or your child is being privately fostered, there are many ways to let us know. Please get in touch as soon as possible.”

You can contact the Council by emailing childrens@somerset.gov.uk or by phoning Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224. More information for parents, private foster carers, professionals and language schools can be found in the downloadable leaflets online at www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk/resources/private-fostering/

For more information about Fostering in Somerset, and our different fostering schemes, visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or phone our enquiry team on 0800 587 9900. You can also Like Fostering in Somerset on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @fostersomerset