**EVENT POSTPONED** Professionals urged to attend private fostering event

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**This event has been postponed until further notice – we’ll publicise the new date soon!**

Do you work in health, education or social care, or with children? Somerset County Council is urging professionals in these fields to attend an event about private fostering to find out what their responsibilities are to privately-fostered children.

The event, titled, ‘Private Fostering: a Professionals’ guide’, is being held at Long Sutton Golf Club, Langport, TA10 9JU, on Friday 23 September from 10am to 12.30am. To confirm your place, email TauntonCLABS@somerset.gov.uk by Monday 19 September 2016.

Many people look after other people’s children for a night or a weekend. But if a child under the age of 16, or 18 if they are disabled, is living with you for more than 28 days – and you are not an immediate relative – it may mean you are privately fostering them.

Education, health and social care professionals can play an important role in identifying where private arrangements are taking place, advising parents and carers of what they should do, and notifying the Local Authority.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “There are many different reasons why children and young people may become privately fostered. It may be that their parents live overseas and they have come to the UK to attend school. It might be that their parents are ill, or working away from home – possibly abroad – and cannot look after them. For some it is because they have, sadly, become estranged from their families.

“We want to spread the word among the professional community, so they know what to do if they become aware a child is being privately fostered. All professionals have a statutory duty to tell the local authority about private fostering arrangements. In this way, together we can support the child, the family they are living with and their birth family, to make sure that the child is safe and able to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

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.

To inform Somerset Children’s Services about private fostering arrangements, please phone Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 or email childrens@somerset.gov.uk

You can also find more information and resources online at www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk/resources/private-fostering