22.3 Notifications to the Local Authority
Last updated 23/09/2021
Where a child is to be placed with private foster carers, the local authority must be notified in writing at least 6 weeks before an arrangement begins. Where no prior notification of a placement is given, private foster carers must notify the local authority of the placement immediately. If any agency becomes aware of a child who may be privately fostered, they must inform the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). All referrals regarding potential private fostering arrangements must be made to Sefton MASH (Tel. 0345 140 0845) using Sefton Council’s on-line referral form stating that this is a potential private fostering arrangement.
The person making the referral should be asked to provide as much as the following information:
- The name, gender, date and place of birth and address of the child;
- The racial origin, cultural and linguistic background and religion of the child;
- The names and address of the person giving the notice and any previous address within the last five years;
- The name and addresses of the child's parents and any previous addresses within the last 5 years;
- If different, the name and address of the person from whom the child was or is to be received;
- The name and address of the private foster carers and any previous addresses within the last 5 years;
- The name and address of any other person who is involved in making the arrangement;
- The name and address of any siblings of the child who are under 18, and the current arrangements for their care;
- The purpose and likely duration of the arrangement;
- The intended date when the child is to be placed with the private foster carers or the date when the placement began.
In relation to notifications given by the private foster carer or proposed private foster carer, the following information should also be obtained by the MASH:
- Any offence of which he/she or any other member of the household has been convicted;
- Any disqualification or prohibition placed on him/her or any other member of the household;
- Any actions taken or orders made in relation to the private foster carer or any child who is or was a member of the same household.
Written notification must also be made to the local authority by the private foster carer within 48 hours of any change in circumstances, e.g. a change of address, a change in the household, a criminal conviction/disqualification or prohibition in relation to any person in the household or any intention to foster another child privately.
Where notification is that the private foster carers have moved to live in the area of another local authority, the social worker must immediately pass to the new authority the name and address of the foster carer, the name of the child being privately fostered, the name and address of the child's parents.
Where notification is that the placement has ended, the social worker should ascertain the name and address of the person now caring for the child and his or her relationship with the child.
Parents also have a duty to notify the local authority in writing of the ending of the placement including the name and address of the person into whose care the child has moved.
Any agency that becomes aware of a private fostering arrangement must immediately notify the local authority using the on-line MASH referral form of the arrangement and must inform the parent and private foster carer of their intention to do so.
Potential scenarios where private fostering arrangement may be made and agencies should consider a private fostering referral to MASH are:
- Parent entering custody
- New school admission application for a child (residing with a non-family member)
- New registration with a GP practice