Caring for Children

Provided by the Children's Services Department

FAQs for parents

I am a parent of a privately fostered child, how will Hampshire County Council help me?

Once you and the private foster carer notify the local authority, a social worker will make arrangements to visit the private foster carer to ensure their home and the people living in the home are suitable. The social worker will want to meet with the child and talk to them. The social worker will also want to speak to you and offer you guidance.

After the initial visit and assessment, the social worker will visit the private fostering family and the child regularly.

Social workers will set up an agreement between you and the private foster carer  and will inform the Health Authority and education services to ensure that the child’s welfare and schooling needs are being adequately catered for.

While your child is living with a private foster carer, you should feel able to contact the social worker who is monitoring the placement at any time; especially if you want to discuss/seek advice about any issue relating to the private fostering arrangement.

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Who is legally responsible for the child while he/she is in private foster care?

Although your child’s private foster carer will provide a home and day-to-day care for your child, you will still have parental responsibility for them and continue to be involved in all of the important decisions that will affect your child. It is up to you to make sure that the private fostering arrangements are suitable for your child and that they remain so.

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What can I do to prepare for my child for entering into a private fostering arrangement?

You must notify Children's Services of any private fostering arrangement.

It is important that you give the private foster carer as much information as possible about your child’s family history, their previous life experiences and their previous medical history and that you agree arrangements for your child’s care including:

  • Education; you must make sure that your child receives a full-time education;
  • Hobbies and interests;
  • Health needs and any ongoing or anticipated medical treatment;
  • What methods of discipline and sanctions are/are not acceptable to you, private foster carers are not permitted to use any form of physical punishment as a method of discipline;
  • How the religious and/or cultural needs of your child will be met;
  • What contact the child will have with you and with other members of your family. It is very important that you stay in frequent contact with your child while they are living away from you;
  • When and how the carer will update you on your child’s progress.

This will help your child’s carer to understand your child and to take good care of him/her.

You should also agree the financial arrangements for your child’s care and maintenance.

The arrangements for the placement that you agree with your child’s carer should be written down so that you both have a copy of exactly what you have agreed and can therefore expect – we provide you with a format for this agreement.

If your child is old enough to understand their situation, it is important that you talk to him/her so that they know what is happening, particularly how long he/she will be living apart from you and how he/she will be able to maintain contact with you and with other relatives or friends who are important to him/her.

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What should I do if I am unhappy with my child’s private foster carer?

If your child’s private foster carer does not give you enough information about your child, or if you are unhappy with the care that your child receives, you should contact the social worker. We will do everything possible to help you, and to ensure that your child is safe and well cared for.

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Is my child in care?

No. It is a private agreement between you and the private foster carer, but we have to make sure that a social worker is involved.

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Do I have to pay the carer?

You will usually be expected to pay the private foster carer for the child’s upkeep. It is a good idea to make a clear agreement about how you intend to help pay for your child's upkeep. Children's Services does not pay for the child's upkeep.

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