Introduction

We understand that every child and young person will have different needs. Some may need a foster placement for a few nights, while others will need a more permanent family environment. During your assessment and training, we will help you prepare for the different types of fostering and find out which works best for you. Fostering need not be a 24 hour, seven days a week commitment. The most important thing for you as a potential foster carer is to find the right type of fostering that suits you and your family.

Long-term

Some parents are unable to look after their own children at all and despite loving them, they are unable to offer them a safe and secure home. In these cases, it is impossible to return the child to their parents to live and they may need to be looked after for an extended period, often until they are adults.

Short-term

Short-term fostering ranges from an overnight stay to three months, or longer, until plans are made for the child's future.

Whilst the child remains with you, you’ll help them understand what is happening and offer them support and reassurance. We can guide you on how to have these conversations and provide proper support and reassurance.

Short breaks

Short break fostering is providing a short, regular break such as one weekend a month. This gives children a chance to make new friends and share new experiences. This type of care can give our valued foster carers extra support and a break if needed.

Emergency

Emergency foster care involves providing a vulnerable child or young person a safe place to stay until they can return home. It is usually for one or two nights, but sometimes it can be longer.

Parent and child arrangements

Being a parent is a daunting task. If you are young and alone, having a baby on your own can be scary. Parent and child carers provide support to young mothers or fathers and their child or to expectant mothers, to help them adapt to parenting.

Bridging

Bridging is the short-term care of babies and young children whilst other permanent arrangements are made. This can include supporting children to move on to adoption or long-term care.

Private fostering

What private fostering is, who is regarded as a private foster carer, how private fostering is different from other fostering arrangements, what to do if you think a child should be privately fostered and where you can get more information.

Supported lodgings

Find out about supported lodgings, what's involved and how you can apply to be a provider.

Make the first step...

Got a specific question, or just want an informal chat? Send us your details and our friendly fostering team will be in touch…

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What is private fostering?

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is being looked after for more than 28 consecutive days by someone who is not a parent, person with parental responsibility or a close relative. Private foster carers may be adults from the extended family such as a cousin or great aunt/uncle. They may also be a friend of the family or other connected person.

Since the Children Act 2004, it has been a legal responsibility for a local authority to know about children and young people who are privately fostered. Local authorities have a duty to assess and monitor private fostering arrangements to make sure the child or young person is safe and their needs are being met.

Whilst the parent retains parental responsibility for the child or young person, the private foster carer becomes responsible for the day-to-day care of the child in a way which promotes his or her welfare. It is important that the parent and private foster carer agree on how the child will be cared for.

Who is regarded as a close relative?

A close relative could be a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether directly related by blood or related through marriage).

When is the arrangement not regarded as private fostering?

A child is not privately fostered if the person caring for him or her has done so for fewer than 28 consecutive days and does not intend to continue looking after the child for longer than that. If the child visits their parent or has an occasional overnight stay, this will not break the period of the private fostering arrangement, as long as the intention is for the child to return to the same private foster carer.

How is this different from other fostering arrangements?

A private fostering arrangement is different from a local authority foster placement because the local authority is not involved in making the arrangement and is not paying for the child's care.

What are the common situations that result in a child being privately fostered?

Children are often cared for in a private fostering arrangement for a variety of reasons such as:

  • a child or young person living with a family friend as a result of their parents breaking up, family break down, a parent’s ill health or in situations where the parent is serving a custodial sentence

  • a child or young person living with their friend’s family

  • a young person living with their boyfriend or girlfriend

  • a teenager who is estranged from their parents due to difficulties in their relationship

  • children or young people from overseas may be staying with their extended family or may be living with a host family whilst attending language schools or undergoing medical treatment.

  • children or young people may also have parents who are working or studying in the UK and living away from their child or young person’s home area.

  • children and young people who are asylum seekers or refugees, or may have been brought into this country by child traffickers, may be living in a situation that would be regarded as private fostering.

What should I do?

Parents who arrange for children to be cared for by private foster carers, and the private foster carers who are offering to look after someone else's child, have a duty to inform the local authority in advance, or as soon as possible afterwards, about the arrangement.

If you become aware of a child who is being cared for in a situation that may meet the criteria for it being a private fostering arrangement, you should inform the local authority about the arrangement.

You should do this using the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Early Help and Safeguarding Hub.

What responsibility does East Riding of Yorkshire Council have?

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has a responsibility for assessing and monitoring private fostering arrangements. Responsibility for ensuring the welfare and safety of children who are being privately fostered rests with the council’s Children and Young People’s Safeguarding and Support Services and is undertaken by a private fostering social worker within the children’s safeguarding teams.

A social worker will visit the household where the privately fostered child is being cared for to ensure that the arrangement is suitable. Checks will also be made in respect of the private foster carers to ensure that they are suitable to look after the child. As part of the assessment, the social worker will speak with the child and his or her parents to get their views and wishes and to make sure the child’s racial, cultural, language and religious needs are met. At the end of the assessment, a senior manager in the council’s Children and Young People’s Safeguarding and Support Services will determine whether the arrangement is suitable and is able to meet the child's needs.

If the arrangement is suitable, a social worker from the children's safeguarding team will visit regularly to monitor the arrangement and provide advice.

If the private foster carer, or their household, is regarded as unsuitable, the local authority can take action to prohibit the private foster carer from caring for the child.

Where can I find out more information?

Further information about private fostering for parents, children, private foster carers and professionals can be found on the East Riding Safeguarding Children's Partnership (ERSCP) website.

For parents:

ERSCP - Private fostering (external website)

For practitioners and professionals:

ERSCP - Private fostering for practitioners and professionals (external website)

What are supported lodgings?

Supported lodgings is a scheme which enables single people aged 16-21 to be offered accommodation in a home environment when leaving foster care or residential care. Supported lodgings are provided by people who can offer a bedroom in their homes, along with some level of support, to care leavers. The supported lodgings scheme operates under our pathway team.

Providers of supported lodgings undergo an approval process and will receive allowances and support from us if they are approved.

Could I provide supported lodgings?

You need to be able to offer a bedroom for the sole use of the young person for as long as the placement is open or required. During this time you would help the young person develop skills towards independent living such as helping with basic cooking skills, budgeting, promote personal hygiene and develop confidence and social skills. The young person will be supported by you as well as project workers, social services and any other agencies with which the young person may be involved.

To provide supported lodgings, you can be:

  • married, with a partner or single

  • working or not working

  • with or without children

  • homeowner or tenant

  • from any ethnic background.

The only restrictions are that:

  • you must have a spare bedroom in your home

  • you must be in good mental and physical health

  • there must be nothing in your background that would suggest that any person placed in your care could be at risk of harm or abuse.

What skills are required?

The main requirements are:

  • patience, tolerance and flexibility

  • plenty of common sense

  • the desire to make a difference to someone’s life

  • to be able to relate to young people and their lives.

We will talk to you about your past experience, both professional and personal, as it helps us understand what you can offer and helps us decide how to best match you to a young person. We will aim to ease the process and provide any training you need and to provide ongoing support during your time as a supported lodgings provider.

What allowances are available?

You would be paid an allowance of either £194 or an enhanced payment of £295 per week for the bedroom you are letting out to the young person. Every young person placed with you will also pay an additional supplement towards their keep of up a minimum of £25 per week to be negotiated with the young person.

What support is available?

Every supported lodgings provider receives support from the pathways team. An accommodation officer provides day to day support and you will be given opportunities to access support and advice to ensure that you are receiving all the advice and help that you need.

Training is offered to all approved providers and you will be required to undertake some training courses before a young person can be placed with you. You will also be given the opportunity to undertake specialist training in areas relative to young people.

How can I become a supported lodgings provider?

If you are interested in becoming a supported lodgings provider please download and fill our supported lodgings enquiry form below.

Enquiry form for supported lodgings - expression of interest (pdf 84kb)

Please send the filled form to the Pathway team address below:

Pathway Team
Children and Young People Support and Safeguarding Services
Manor Road Offices
Ground Floor
Manor Road
Beverley
HU17 7BT.

Email: pathway.admin@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 396666

If you want any further information then please contact us and we can email or post you an information booklet.

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