You would know if you were a foster carer, but what about a private foster carer?
Unlike regular foster carers, private foster carers are people who look after the son or daughter of a friend or family member.
If a person cares for someone else’s child for longer than 28 days, they are classed as a ‘private foster carer’ and must register with the local authority.
Under the law, a child is any individual up to the age of 16 years (18 years if the child is disabled). Close relatives (grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts) are not classed as private foster carers.
Cousins and other distantly removed relatives, and families who look after children sent to the UK for education or health care by parents living overseas need to register with the local authority.
Assistant Director of Children and Family services at North East Lincolnshire Council, Megan Dennison, said: “There are lots of people in our area that care for a friend or family member’s child, and there will be many more that do but don’t realise that they have to let the Council know.
“We have to ensure that every child in North East Lincolnshire is being looked after properly, and that their needs are being met. By letting us know, we can carry out some quick checks to make sure that the child and the private foster carer are both receiving the proper support.
“If you have found yourself in a situation where you are caring for someone else’s child for a prolonged period, please let us know.”
Councillor Ian Lindley, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “We know that there are a lot of private foster carers out there, and they do a fantastic job of caring for young children.
“These are people who are lending their friends and family members a helping hand during a time of need.
“The laws around private foster carers are in place to protect children. I would urge anyone who thinks they may be in this situation to contact the Council.”
If you think you might be a private foster carer, contact the Children’s Assessment and Safeguarding Service (CASS) on 01472 326292 (Option 2).
For more information, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk.