Shadow health minister Tim Laughton has launched a campaign to call
on the government to regulate the private fostering sector.
The Conservative MP introduced a bill in parliament last week under
the 10-minute rule to highlight concerns over private fostering
raised by Lord Laming in his report into the death of Victoria
Although unlikely to result in any changes in law, the bill aims to
raise awareness of the issue. It has been backed by nine other
Conservative and Labour MPs and will be debated in the House of
Commons in July.
It is estimated that there are up to 10,000 private foster carers
in the UK, most looking after young children from west Africa.
Since 1991, local authority registers of private foster carers have
existed but many are not aware of it and there is no legal
requirement to register.
Laughton has called for the establishment of a national register of
private foster carers, with a legal requirement to register and
penalties for failing to do so.
He also proposed making it an offence for parents to place children
with unregistered carers, and the setting up of a tracking system
for unaccompanied children entering the country.
“I am sure the great majority of carers do a good job and pose no
threat to their charges,” Loughton said. “However, weÉhave no
idea of the extent of the problem.”