More awareness of regulations needed

Language schools and foreign embassies need to be made more aware
of the recently introduced private fostering rules, according to

The new regulations and minimum standards require private foster
carers to notify local authorities of care arrangements at least
six weeks before they begin.

But the Fostering Network’s policy and campaigns manager, Vicki
Swain, said there were many children from abroad studying at
language schools and staying with families who were unaware they
were acting as private foster carers.

She said families looking after a child for more than a month were
effectively private foster carers and the language schools that
children attended were also unaware the placements needed to be

Swain also said the regulations would be unsuccessful until a
register of private foster carers was introduced.

“Nobody truly knows how many private foster children there are,”
she added.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection said it would focus its
inspections on determining how successful the new rules prove to be
in safeguarding the welfare of privately fostered children.

If the measures prove unsuccessful the government has reserved the
power to require local authorities to set up a register of private
foster carers.

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