A leaflet campaign outlining councils’ and private foster
carers’ legal responsibilities is not “far-reaching” enough,
according to British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering.
The Department of Health launched the campaign this month
following concerns prompted by research studies that many local
authorities and private foster carers were failing to adhere to
regulations set out in the Children Act 1989.
Under the act, local authorities must make home visits to the
child, observe the overall standard of care and offer advice where
Private foster carers must notify their local authority six
weeks in advance of a placement, as well as when the child leaves
The leaflet highlights the current lack of awareness and
enforcement of regulations by both carers and councils.
It says that half of all private foster carers fail to notify
local authorities about placement arrangements.
The leaflet adds that, even then, reported placements are
considered by councils to be a low priority, with little
timeallocated to inspecting them.
Describing private fostering as a “potential minefield”, BAAF
chief executive Felicity Collier said: “We are very glad that
attention has been drawn to this issue. But it is not far-reaching
enough and we are not convinced that there will be any more
elements to the campaign.”
She called for the implementation of measures outlined in the
1998 Utting report, which recommended it should be a criminal
offence to look after a child for more than 28 days without
informing the local authority.
The government rejected the proposals.
The leaflet, which will be distributed nationally, urges
education, health and social care sector professionals to be more
aware of private fostering and to be more proactive in notifying
local councils of private fostering arrangements.
About 10,000 children, many of whom are aged under five, are in