LETTER: Making sure child is safe

Your letters
Your letters

We live in a county full of caring and loving individuals - many wouldn’t think twice before offering to temporarily look after someone else’s child.

But were you aware that if you look after someone else’s child for 28 consecutive days or more then this is called Private Fostering and the parent/carer has a legal duty to notify the county council?

During National Fostering Week (4 to 10 July), we are spreading the word on what help and advice is available to families who may be looking after someone else’s child.

People may find themselves becoming private foster carers for a whole range of reasons such as the parent’s ill health or an overseas student living with a ‘host’ family. Private fostering doesn’t apply to close relatives of a child such as an older sibling, grandparent or uncle.

Children living with private foster carers are sometimes referred to as ‘invisible children’.

It is really important that people let us know if they are looking after someone else’s child - we are not looking to interfere but we do need to make sure the child is safe, well cared for and happy.

We also have a number of ways that we can support carers should they need it.

Please help us to do this and let us know about a private foster arrangement by calling 01403 229900 or by emailing MASH@westsussex.gcsx.gov.uk. Or find out about fostering by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/fostering.

Stephen Hillier

(Con, Haywards Heath East)Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, West Sussex County Council, County Hall, Chichester

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