Children in private fostering arrangements still unknown to councils

Thousands of children being looked after by someone other than a close relative are missing out on support because they remain hidden to local authorities, a children’s charity has claimed.

NCH estimates that 15,000 children and young people are in private fostering arrangements, but that only 730 of these are registered with councils despite registration becoming a legal requirement under the Children Act 2004.

A private fostering arrangement is one where a child is placed with someone who is not a parent, guardian, step-parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent for more than 28 days.

NCH is calling on local authorities to do more to ensure that children in their area are getting the support they need, and on private foster carers to register.

“There are thousands of children who are simply not on the radar of the local authority – and they are missing out on support they may desperately need,” said NCH London deputy director Darren Johnson. “We just hope that not only families come forward, but that local authorities are doing everything they can to give those children a better deal.”

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