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4.2 Safeguarding Children in Private Foster Care

1.1 A private fostering arrangement is one that is made without being instigated by Social Services or a local authority for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18 for a child with disabilities) by someone other than a parent or a close relative, with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more.
1.2 Private foster carers may be from the extended family, such as a cousin or great aunt, but a person who is a relative under the Children and Young Persons Act 2001, i.e. a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage) or a step-parent, will not be a private foster carer.
1.3 The law requires parents, prospective private foster carers and those who receive a child in an emergency or who were providing accommodation for a child when he became a privately fostered child, and any other person who is, or who proposes to be, involved in making such arrangements to notify Social Services in order that appropriate checks can be made.
1.4 Children in private foster care should receive the same degree of protection as children looked after in their own homes or by the Government.
1.5 Many private foster carers and parents are not aware of the notification requirements and, as a result, many private fostering arrangements remain hidden, leaving the children who have been placed with them without the benefit of formal monitoring arrangements.
1.6 When a child is placed in a private fostering arrangement the private foster carer becomes responsible for providing the day-to-day care of the child in a way which will Safeguard and Promote their Welfare. Overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child remains with the child’s parents or other person with Parental Responsibility.
1.7 The Children and Young Persons Act 2001 places a duty on Social Services to satisfy itself that children who are privately fostered are adequately safeguarded and their welfare is promoted.
1.8 Social Services should report annually to the Safeguarding Children Board (SCB) on how it satisfies itself that the welfare of privately fostered children on the Isle of Man is satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted, including how it co-operates with other agencies in this connection.
1.9 When a referral is received concerning a child in private foster care the same procedures should be followed as for any child. See Referral to Social Services Procedure for more information.
1.10 In addition, every effort should be made to locate the person(s) with Parental Responsibility and to speak with them as part of an Initial Assessment, Core Assessment or Section 46 Enquiries.

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