Bill toughens up private fostering rules

Local authorities will be required to raise awareness in the local
community of the need to inform councils of any private fostering
arrangements, under measures outlined in the Children Bill.

The bill will strengthen the Children Act 1989 private fostering
notification scheme, but also contains a power to enable a
registration scheme for private foster carers to be established
should the new measures still be deemed too weak.

Councils will be required to appoint an officer to monitor the
operation of the notification scheme locally and ensure it complies
with existing and new duties.

Guidance will underpin measures that will clarify that the general
duty of co-operation between agencies includes co-operation in
relation to private fostering.

Local safeguarding children boards will need to ensure inter-agency
co-operation in the monitoring of children who are privately
fostered. The new regime should also inspect the effectiveness of
agencies co-operating together in regards to private

The measures were first outlined by Margaret Hodge earlier this
year (news, page 8, 15 January).

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