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4.3 Private Fostering


Contents

1. Definition
2. Role of the Department
3. Notifications
  3.1 Overview
  3.2 Notification of Proposed Placement
  3.3 Information required in the Notification of a Proposed Placement
  3.4 Action to be taken on receipt of Notification of Proposed Private Fostering Arrangement
  3.5 Notification of Actual Placement
  3.6 Action to be taken on receipt of Notification of Actual Private Fostering Arrangement
  3.7 Notification of Commencement of Placement
  3.8 Action to be taken on receipt of Notification of Commencement of Placement
  3.9 Notification of Change of Circumstances
  3.10 Action to be taken on receipt of Notification of Change in Circumstances
  3.11 Notification of End of Placement
  3.12 Action to be taken on receipt of Notification of end of Placement
  3.13 Notification of Cancellation of Placement
  3.14 Notification from other Agencies
4. Visits
  4.1 Frequency
  4.2 Purpose of Visits
  4.3 Initial Visit to Private Foster Carer following Notification of Proposed Placement
  4.4 Initial Visit to Private Foster following Notification of Actual Placement
  4.5 Action to be taken following Initial Home Visit
  4.6 Subsequent Visits
5. Assessment of Private Foster Carer
  5.1 Introduction
6. Parental Responsibility


1. Definition

1.1 A private fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made privately (that is to say without the involvement of the Department) for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if the child has a disability) by someone other than a parent or close relative with the intention that the arrangement should last for 28 days or more. The period for which the child is cared for and accommodated by the private carer should be continuous, but that continuity is not broken by the occasional short break.
1.2 A close relative is defined as being a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step parents. 
1.3 Private foster carers may be from extended family, e.g. a cousin or great aunt or uncle. They may be friends of the family, parents of a girlfriend or boyfriend or they may be someone unknown to the child or parent.
1.4 Responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the privately fostered child remains with the parent and other persons with Parental Responsibility.
1.5 The private foster carer becomes responsible for providing the day-to-day care of the child, as agreed and arranged with the person with Parental Responsibility, in a way, which will promote and safeguard the child or young person's welfare.
1.6 A child who is Looked After or placed in any residential home, hospital or school is excluded from the definition.
1.7 In a private fostering arrangement the role of the Department is to carry out their duties in a way that maintains a balance between the rights of the parent to make a private arrangement for the care of their children, and the Department's obligation to satisfy themselves about the welfare of those children.
1.8

Common situations in which children are privately fostered include:

  • Children with parents overseas;
  • Local children living apart from their families;
  • Children who are estranged from their families;
  • Adolescents and teenagers;
  • Children attending language schools;
  • Children at independent boarding schools who do not return home for holidays;
  • Children living with host families for a variety of reasons;
  • Children brought in from abroad with a view to adoption.


2. Role of the Department

2.1 The Department does not formally approve or register private foster carers.
2.2 However, it is the duty of the Department to satisfy itself that the welfare of children who are, or will be, privately fostered in their area is, or will be, safeguarded and promoted. 
2.3

The role of the Department is:

  • Regulatory;
  • Supervisory;
  • Advisory.
2.4

It is the duty of the Department to:

  • Receive notifications from parents, private foster carers and third parties;
  • Assess the suitability of the private foster carers, members of the household and the accommodation;
  • Assess the private foster carers' ability to provide for the needs of children in their care;
  • Offer advice and support to parents, private foster carers and the children involved in the arrangement, verbally and in writing;
  • Promote public and professional awareness of the notification requirements. 


3. Notifications

3.1 Overview

3.1.1

The notifications that the Department should receive are:

  • Notification of a proposed private foster placement - that is, a placement that has been arranged but where the child is not yet living with the private foster carer;
  • Notification of an actual placement - that is, a placement that has already commenced without previous notification; 
  • Notification of the commencement of a placement. Where the Department has previously notified that a private fostering arrangement is proposed, any person who has provided previous notification must inform the Department when the placement actually starts;
  • Notification of the cancellation of an arrangement. Where the Department has been previously notified of a proposed placement that has not yet begun and the plan is subsequently abandoned before the child moves to live with the private foster care, all parties involved should notify the Department of the change of plans;
  • Notification of a change in circumstances;
  • Notification of the end of a placement. 
3.1.2 Any notification that is received must be in writing and sent to the Children and Families Initial Response Team.
3.1.3 Each notification must contain specified information and should be received within a specified time scale - the specific time scales, information required and action to be taken are contained in the relevant sections below.

3.2 Notification of Proposed Placement

3.2.1 Where a child is to be placed with a private foster carer, the Department must be notified not less than 6 weeks or more than 13 weeks before the arrangement begins.
3.2.2 Notification of the proposed arrangement is required from the proposed Private Foster Carer, the parents and any other person with Parental Responsibility. If the parent is not directly involved in the arrangement, he/she must notify the Department as soon as becoming aware of the arrangement. Any other person who is involved, either directly or indirectly, with the arrangement, must also notify the Department as soon as possible after the arrangement is made.

3.3 Information required in the Notification of a Proposed Placement

3.3.1

All notification of proposed placements must be in writing and contain as much of the following information as the person giving the information is able to provide:

  • The name, gender, date and place of birth and address of the child;
  • The racial origin, cultural and linguistic background and religion of the child;
  • The name and current address of the person giving notice and their addresses within the last five years;
  • The name and current address of the proposed private foster carer and their addresses within the last five years;
  • The name and addresses of the child's parents and any other person with Parental Responsibility for the child and if different, of any other person from whom the child is to be received;
  • The name and address of any other person involved, directly or indirectly in the arrangement for the child to be fostered privately;
  • The name and current address of the child's minor siblings and the detail of the arrangements for their care;
  • The date on which the private foster placement will start;
  • The intended duration and purpose of the arrangement. 
3.3.2

Private foster carers or proposed private foster carers must also provide the Department with the following information.

  • Any offences against a child of which they have been convicted;
  • Any offence involving injury or threat of injury to another person of which they have been convicted;
  • Any disqualification and prohibitions e.g. registration as child minder refused or cancelled, or disqualification from acting as a Department foster carer;
  • Any convictions, disqualifications or prohibitions imposed on any other person living or employed at the same household;
  • Any Court Orders as a result of which a child has been removed from their care.

3.4 Action to be taken on Receipt of Notification of Proposed Private Fostering Arrangement

3.4.1 When a notification of a proposed private fostering arrangement is received from any source, it should be sent as a referral to Children and Families Initial Response Team. The information should be recorded as a referral.
3.4.2 The duty worker will carry out checks to establish if the proposed carers and/or any other member of the household are known to Children and Families to ensure that the carers or any members of the household are not disqualified from providing private foster care for a child.
3.4.3 Checks of the electronic records should also be undertaken on the private foster child and his/her family. 
3.4.4 If the above checks do not identify any disqualifications, the information must be referred to a Care Management Team Manager immediately for allocation.
3.4.5

Following the receipt of the information, the allocated social worker will arrange for the following to take place:

  • To visit the premises where it proposed that the child will be cared for and accommodated;
  • To visit and speak to the proposed private foster carer and all members of the household;
  • To visit and speak to the child whom it is proposed will be privately fostered alone unless the social worker considers it inappropriate. (An interpreter who is independent of the child's parents and of the private foster carer should always be used where the child's preferred language is not English);
  • To speak to and, if it is practicable to do so, visit the child's parents or other person with Parental Responsibility for the child.
3.4.6 The above visits or contacts must be undertaken within 7 working days of receipt of the notification of a proposed private fostering arrangement.
3.4.7 Written information in leaflet form will be provided to the children concerned, parents and prospective carers about private fostering. This will include information about the Department's duties, the keeping of records, the right of access to records, the Comments, Compliments and Complaints Procedure, (in relation to carers) the right to access benefits and (in relation to children) the right to access advocacy services. Any such information must be translated into the preferred language of the recipient and will include the name of the social worker to contact for further advice or information.
3.4.8 See Section 4, Visits below for details of the initial visit to a proposed private fostering arrangement.
3.4.9 Where it is clear from the initial visit that the proposed arrangement is within the definition of private fostering, the allocated social worker will also make arrangements for the detailed assessment of the foster carers to commence and, wherever possible, be completed prior to the placement (see Section 5, Assessment of Private Foster Carer below).

3.5 Notification of Actual Placement

3.5.1 Any person who is privately fostering a child and has not given notification within the time scales stated in Section 3.2, Notification of Proposed Placement above must within 48 hours of the start of the arrangement notify the Department for the area where he or she lives that the arrangement has begun.
3.5.2 Parents and any other person who has Parental Responsibility must also notify the Department within 48 hours of the arrangement beginning.

3.6 Action to be taken on Receipt of Notification of Actual Private Fostering Arrangement

3.6.1 Where the initial checks revealed no disqualifications, the allocated social worker should arrange to visit and undertake the duties as above Section 3.4.5.
3.6.2 The above visits or contacts should be undertaken within 7 working days of receipt of the notification.
3.6.3

The purposes of the joint visit to the private foster home are:

  • To confirm that the placement is within the definition of a private fostering arrangement;
  • To consider if the child meets the criteria of a Child with Complex Needs and whether a NARRATES CwCN is required.
3.6.4 Written information in leaflet form should also be provided to the child/ children concerned, parents and prospective carers about private fostering. This will include information about the Department's duties, the keeping of records, the right of access to records, the Comments, Compliments and Complaints Procedure, (in relation to the carers) the right to access any benefits and (in relation to children) the right to access advocacy services. Any such information must be translated into the preferred language of the recipient and will include the name of the social worker to contact for any further advice or information.

3.7 Notification of Commencement of Placement

3.7.1 Any person who, prior to the placement commencing, has notified the Initial Response Team of a private fostering arrangement must, within 48 hours of the child moving to the private foster carers, notify the Group Manager (IRT) that the arrangement has actually begun.
3.7.2 The purpose of this notification is to ensure that the child is visited following the commencement of the placement. However if no notification is received from the carer or parent, the allocated social worker must make checks as to whether the placement has begun as initially notified.

3.8 Action to be taken on Receipt of Notification of Commencement of Placement

3.8.1 The allocated social worker will undertake an initial home visit to the private foster carer. This visit must take place within 7 working days of the receipt of the notification.
3.8.2 During this visit, the private foster child must be seen alone unless this would not be in the child's best interests. An interpreter who is independent of the child's parents and of the private foster carer should always be used where the child's preferred language is not English.
3.8.3 The Allocated social worker will also undertake or arrange for an appropriate person to undertake the detailed assessment of the foster carers (see Section 5, Assessment of Private Foster Carer below).

3.9 Notification of Change of Circumstances

3.9.1

Private Foster carers must notify the Group Manager (IRT) of:

  • Any change of address;
  • If they or any member of the household have been convicted of any further offences;
  • If any further disqualifications have been imposed on any member of the household;
  • New members of the household;
  • Any one ceasing to be a member of the household;
  • Their intention to privately foster another child.
3.9.2 The parents of a privately fostered child or any other person with Parental Responsibility for the child must notify the Department of any change of their address.
3.9.3 The duty to notify the Department of a change in circumstances applies at any time between the notification of a proposed or actual private fostering arrangement and the placement ending.
3.9.4 Notifications of a change of circumstances must be given in advance if practicable and in any other case, not more than 48 hours after the change of circumstances.

3.10 Action to be taken on Receipt of Notification of Change in Circumstances

3.10.1 Following the receipt of a notification of a change in circumstance from the private foster carer, the allocated worker will check that the parents are aware of the particular change.
3.10.2 If notification involves a change in the parents' address, the allocated worker will check with the carer and the child that they are aware of the change.
3.10.3

If the notification relates to the private foster carer's change of address and it is in the area of another jurisdiction, the allocated worker will notify the authority concerned and provide the new authority with the following information:

  • The name and address of the private foster carer;
  • The name and address of the child who is being privately fostered; and
  • The name and address of the child's parents or any other person who has Parental Responsibility.
3.10.4 The Department to which the private foster carer has moved must also be informed of any important matters relating to the welfare of the child e.g. a disability or health condition, special educational needs or the suitability of the carers.
3.10.5 Other appropriate agencies involved with the family must also be notified by the allocated worker of any change of the child's address.
3.10.6 If the notification relates to a conviction for a further offence, the nature of the offence must be obtained by the allocated worker to determine the impact it may have on the care of the privately fostered child and if it disqualifies the carer from privately fostering.
3.10.7 In the event that the notification relates to a disqualification being imposed on the private foster carer or any other member of the household, the procedure for disqualifications must be followed.
3.10.8 If the notification relates to a new member of the household, the allocated worker will arrange for DBS and medical checks to be undertaken if the person is over 16 years old.

3.11 Notification of End of Placement

3.11.1 Parents and carers have a duty to notify the Department of the ending of the placement, unless they intend to resume the care of the child within 27 days, including the name and address of the person into whose care the child has moved and their relationship to the child.
3.11.2 A notification of an end of placement will not be necessary when it is intended that the private foster child returns to the private foster carer within 27 days. However if the intention to return is subsequently abandoned or the interval expires, the Group Manager (IRT) must be notified within 48 hours of it being known that the private fostering arrangement is not intended to continue.

3.12 Action to be taken on Receipt of Notification of end of Placement

3.12.1 Following the receipt of a notification of the ending of a placement, the allocated worker will check that all parties, including the child, are aware of the end of the arrangement.
3.12.2 Appropriate agencies involved with the child must also be notified by the allocated worker of the end of the private fostering arrangement.
3.12.3 Where a private foster arrangement ends due to of the death of the privately fostered, the allocated worker must ensure that the parents of the child are informed immediately. 
3.12.4 Consideration must also be given to the assistance the private foster carers may require.
3.12.5 The Chief Social Worker must be informed immediately (via a “Need to Know” notification) and consideration must be given to the implications of what has happened - see the Isle of Man Safeguarding Children Board (SCB) Inter Agency Child Protection Procedures, Child Death Overview Panel Procedure.

3.13 Notification of Cancellation of Placement

3.13.1 Where the Department has previously been notified of a proposed placement that has not yet begun and the plan is subsequently abandoned before the child moves to live with the private foster care, all parties involved should notify the Department of the change of plans. 
3.13.2 On receipt of such notification, the allocated worker will check the reasons for the change in the arrangements and consider whether any further action is required in relation to the child in his or her current situation, for example whether further services are required from another agency or whether the child may be a Child with Complex Needs or whether the case can be closed.
3.13.3 Appropriate agencies involved with the child must also be notified by the allocated worker of the cancellation of the private fostering arrangement.

3.14 Notification from other Agencies

3.14.1 Any agency which becomes aware of a private fostering arrangement must notify the Children and Families Initial Response Team within 24 hours of becoming aware of an intended or actual private fostering arrangement.
3.14.2 On receipt, the notification will be dealt with under the above procedures in the same way as notifications received from parents and carers.


4. Visits

4.1 Frequency

4.1.1 Visits by the social worker must be made to the child and the private foster carer at the foster home within one week of the commencement of the placement and then every six weeks in the first year. In subsequent years, visits must be at least three monthly. The need to visit more frequently must be considered depending on the circumstances and the need to visit unannounced and/or to choose times when all members of the household are likely to be present should also be considered.
4.1.2 Additional visits should be arranged at the request of the child or the foster carer.
4.1.3 The child must be seen alone by the social worker unless this is not appropriate having regard to the young age of the child or if the child does not wish to see the social worker alone.

4.2 Purpose of Visits

4.2.1 The overall purpose of all visits is to encourage the maintenance and improvement of the child-care standards, review the purpose and likely duration of the placement and check that the child's needs are met within the private fostering arrangement. 

4.3 Initial Visit to Private Foster Carer following Notification of Proposed Placement

4.3.1 The Allocated social worker undertakes this visit. The purpose of this visit is to provide additional safeguards for children whom it is proposed should be privately fostered by checking out the proposed arrangement and the suitability of the arrangements - or otherwise to exercise the power to prohibit or to impose requirements - before it begins.
4.3.2

During the initial visit, the social worker should:

  • Explain the assessment process and the private foster carers' legal responsibilities towards the child verbally and in writing;
  • Request the foster carer and all members of the household over 16 to complete forms for enhanced DBS checks;
  • Obtain written consent from the carers that they are willing to agree to the necessary checks being undertaken and that they will cooperate with the assessment.
4.3.3 In the event of a refusal of any person to cooperate with the making of the necessary checks and assessment, the social worker should advise the private foster carer that it will not be possible to recommend him or her as suitable and must also advise the parents of the reason why alternative arrangements will have to be made for the child.
4.3.4

During the initial visit information should also be obtained as appears relevant in the particular circumstances to ascertain the following:

  • That the purpose and intended duration of the private fostering arrangement is understood by, and agreed between, the parents of the child (or any other person with Parental Responsibility) and the proposed private foster carer and, where the child has come from overseas, that the child's immigration status is clarified and consistent with the arrangement;
  • The wishes and feelings of the child about the proposed arrangement (considered in the light of his or her age and understanding);
  • The suitability of the proposed accommodation;
  • The capacity of the proposed private foster carer to look after the child;
  • The suitability of other members of the proposed private foster carer's household;
  • Whether the arrangements for contact between the child and his/her parents, any other person with Parental Responsibility and other persons who are significant to him/her (e.g. siblings, other family members, close friends) have been agreed and understood, and whether those arrangements will be satisfactory for the child;
  • Whether the parents of the child, or any other person with Parental Responsibility, and the proposed private foster carer have agreed financial arrangements for the care and maintenance of the child;
  • Whether consideration has been given and necessary steps taken to make arrangements for the care of the child's health;
  • Whether consideration has been given and necessary steps taken to make arrangements for the child's education;
  • How decisions about the day to day care of the child will be taken.
4.3.5 The foster carers should also be encouraged to draw up a written agreement with the child's parents as to their respective expectations and responsibilities in relation to the fostering arrangement including the issues stated above.
4.3.6 A written report on the visit must be made by the social worker. The record must state whether the child was seen alone. It must also contain a recommendation about the continued suitability of the fostering arrangement. The report must be reviewed and signed by the social worker’s manager, and placed on the child's file.
4.3.7 A copy of the record of the visit should be sent to the carer, parents and child (if old enough) and be placed on the child's file.

4.4 Initial Visit to Private Foster Carer following Notification of Actual Placement

4.4.1 This visit should be undertaken jointly by a social worker from the Initial Response Team and the allocated social worker.
4.4.2

In addition to the information detailed in paragragph 6.3 the visiting social workers must:

  • Ensure that the parents have fully informed the foster carer of the child's medical history and any current need for ongoing professional monitoring and medication, and has handed the child's personal child health records to the foster carer;
  • Encourage the foster carers to draw up a written agreement with the child's parents as to their respective expectations and responsibilities in relation to the fostering arrangement including the contact arrangements;
  • Ensure that the child is registered with a GP, dentist and, if necessary, optician local to the foster home;
  • Ensure that a school place has been arranged for the child if of school age;
  • Ensure the parent provides to the private foster carer a written general consent to cover any necessary medical treatment and that a copy of this consent is given to the GP, dentist, optician and retained on the child's file;
  • Advise the foster carer to arrange a medical examination of the child with the GP as soon as practicable after the start of the placement.
4.4.3 In order to ascertain the child's wishes, feelings and understanding of the private foster arrangement, the visiting social workers must see the privately fostered child alone, unless this is not appropriate having regard to the young age of the child or if the child does not wish to see the social worker alone. The child (if old enough) must be provided with written information about private fostering including information about access to advocacy services. Any such information must be translated into the child's preferred language.
4.4.4 Where a CwCN Plan is put into place, this should be reviewed at minimum intervals of six months.
4.4.5 Following the visit, whether it takes place prior to the placement or after the placement has commenced, a record of initial visit must be completed. The record must state whether the child was seen alone. It must also contain a recommendation about the continued suitability of the fostering arrangement. The report must be reviewed and signed by the manager, and placed on the child's file.
4.4.6 A copy should be sent to the foster carer, parent and child (if old enough) and placed on the child's file and the carers file.  

4.5 Action to be taken following Initial Home Visit

4.5.1 Following the Initial Visit, if there are any concerns that the needs of the privately fostered child may not be being met or will not be met, a NARRATES must be undertaken. In these circumstances, the allocated social worker's role will be to continue to assess the suitability of the carer, the accommodation and the household members.

4.6 Subsequent Visits

4.6.1 For Frequency of Visits see Section 4.1, Frequency.
4.6.2

The overall purpose of all visits is to ensure that child care standards and the child's needs are continuing to be met within the foster placement and in particular:

  • To observe the overall standard of care including visiting the child's bedroom;
  • To speak to and ascertain the wishes of the child;
  • To review the purpose and likely duration of the placement. The parent and the foster carer should be encouraged to plan the ending of the placement and prepare the child for the change;
  • Where the child is from overseas, to clarify the child's immigration status and whether this is consistent with the intended duration of the placement;
  • To ensure that the arrangements for the child's education are satisfactory;
  • To advise the foster carer as necessary for example in relation to the maintaining of the child's links with his or her cultural heritage or in relation to appropriate travel arrangements for the child visiting family abroad;
  • To ensure that the child remains registered with a GP and dentist and that any necessary health care has been provided to take account of any special health needs;
  • To ensure that the child has access to services as required as a result of any disabilities;
  • To enquire as to the contact arrangements for the child with the parents and siblings;
  • To encourage the foster carer to keep a record of the child's development, including accidents, illnesses, immunisations, school reports, achievements and any contact with parents or significant others;
  • To offer advice and support to the carer, child and parents as necessary or requested to ensure the privately fostered child's needs are met and their welfare is safeguarded.
4.6.3 A written report on every visit must be made by the social worker, by completing a record of visit. The record must state whether the child was seen alone. It must also contain a recommendation about the continued suitability of the fostering arrangement. The report must be reviewed and signed by the manager, and placed on the child's file.
4.6.4 A copy of the record of the visit should be sent to the carer, parent and child (if old enough) and placed on the child's file and the carer's file.


5. Assessment of Private Foster Carer

5.1 Introduction

5.1.1 The Allocated social worker will carry out an assessment of the private foster carer - wherever possible, this will be carried out and completed and a decision made as to the outcome prior to the commencement of the placement.
5.1.2

The assessment will consider the following:

  • The suitability of the foster carer and all members of the household;
  • The suitability of the accommodation;
  • The capacity of the private foster carer to provide for the private foster child's needs and safeguard their welfare.
5.1.3 As part of this assessment, the Allocated social worker must arrange for checks on the foster carer(s) and all members of the household over 16 to be made with the DBS, Children's Services, and Probation.
5.1.4 In assessing the capacity of the proposed or actual private foster carer to look after the child, the allocated social worker should also consult with appropriate agencies who may already be involved with the child, the proposed or actual private foster carer or members of his household. The health visitor may, for example, be able to provide information about the person's experience of caring for children of different age groups, children of particular ethnic minority groups, children with special needs or caring for children in general. The person who is, or is proposing to, foster the child privately should be made aware that such views will be sought.
5.1.5 Medical Checks on the private foster carer(s) must also be made.
5.1.6 The Allocated social worker should also ask for the names of three personal referees and arrange to visit the personal referees.
5.1.7 In the event of a refusal of any person to cooperate with the making of the necessary checks, the social worker should advise the foster carers that as the required assessment cannot be completed, they cannot be recommended as suitable. In these circumstances, the social worker must also advise the parents of the reason why alternative arrangements will have to be made for the child.
5.1.8 Once the private foster carer assessment has been completed, the social worker should prepare a report for the Head of Statutory Social Work Service. The report may include a recommendation that a requirement is imposed, or an exemption from the usual fostering limit is granted. Where the assessment is that the foster carers are not suitable, the report may recommend that a prohibition be imposed.
5.1.9 After the Head of Statutory Social Work Service has considered the report and made a written recommendation, this will be sent to the allocated social worker and the team manager.
5.1.10 Written notice of this decision must be delivered by hand or sent via recorded delivery to the foster carer and to the parent by the allocated social worker within 7 working days of the decision being made.
5.1.11 Where a decision is made to impose any requirement(s) on a foster carer, the requirement(s) must be specified and reasons for the decision must be recorded. Written notice of the requirement(s), together with the reasons, should be included in the written notice of the decision sent to the foster carer and to the parent by the allocated social worker.
5.1.12 Where a decision is made to grant an exemption (from the usual fostering limit), the conditions of the exemption must be specified and reasons for the decision must be recorded. Written notice of the exemption, together with the reasons, should be included in the written notice of the decision sent to the foster carer and to the parent by the Allocated social worker.
5.1.13 Where a decision is made to lift a disqualification, the reasons for the decision must be recorded. Written notice of the reasons should be included in the written notice of the decision sent to the foster carer and to the parent by the Allocated social worker.
5.1.14 Where a decision is made to prohibit a foster carer from caring for a child, reasons for the decision must be recorded. Written notice of this decision together with reasons must be sent by hand or recorded delivery post to the foster carer and to the parent by the allocated social worker.
5.1.15 Discussion should also take place with the parent as to the making of alternative arrangements for the child.


6. Parental Responsibility

6.1 Parental Responsibility is one of the key underpinning concepts of working with children. Because parents have the legal responsibility for their children they should be encouraged to participate in all decisions made in relation to a private fostering arrangement. 
6.2 A person with Parental Responsibility may arrange for a private foster carer to meet that responsibility by acting on his behalf, for example, by delegating responsibility for consent to medical examination or treatment. Such an arrangement may prove useful in situations where the parent of the child is unable to exercise his or her responsibilities. However, such an arrangement does not affect any liability of the person with Parental Responsibility that may follow from a failure to meet that responsibility.
6.3 Whilst the day-to-day care of the child can be delegated to the private foster carer, Parental Responsibility remains with the parent. How they exercise this is a matter for agreement with the private foster carer at the start of the arrangement. However, parents should be encouraged to remain as closely involved as possible in their child's life. Without this, the position of the child could become uncertain and allow the arrangement to be regarded as a quasi-adoption in which the child feels uncertain as to which family he belongs. The parents should be encouraged to keep the child up to date with happenings in the family, either directly or through the private foster carer. 
6.4 If the parents, or those with Parental Responsibility, are failing to exercise their responsibilities e.g. failing to pay maintenance or to keep in touch, the social worker undertaking the visits should try to locate them and find out if there is a problem, give advice and take appropriate action as necessary. Where the parents cannot be contacted over a sustained period of time, the Department should consider whether the child is a Child with Complex Needs and the extent to which (if at all) the Department should exercise any of their functions under the Children and Young Persons Act 2001 with respect to the child, for example by the provision of support services. 

End