A programme for reform - ACTION FOR CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 20 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

1. Legislation should be introduced to require local authorities to maintain a register of private foster carers within their area who are approved as suitable. This register would be available to birth parents who wished to make arrangements for their child. It should be possible for a private foster carer to be registered as generally available or alternatively to be approved for a specific child already known to them in the same way that foster carers can be approved to foster a specific child.

2. It should be an offence to foster a child privately if the carer is unregistered or to place a child with an unregistered carer.

3. Each local authority should be required to make an annual statistical return to the Department of Health detailing the number of private foster carers registered, the numbers deregistered, and the number of placements in its area.

4. Standards should be published by the Department of Health with the criteria against which private foster carers should be assessed for registration. These should be based on current standards for childminders and include elements of the National Standards for Foster Care.

5. The National Care Standards Commission should be required to inspect the private fostering service of Local Authorities in England and Wales as already required in Scotland.

6. The children Act 1989 should be amended to make explicit that the stipulation of 28 days as the period after which the child is deemed to be privately fostered need not be continuous.

7. Each local authority should be required to appoint a designated social work manager with specific responsibility for private fostering overall.

8. Local authorities should have a statutory duty to provide counselling and advice to birth parents considering having their child privately fostered.

9. The local authority should have a duty to offer support to young people who were in private foster care three months before their 16th birthday.

10. Private foster carers who have children removed from their care by the Local Authority should be notified to the Protection of Children Act List.

11. The Government should have a continuing campaign, backing any efforts by local authorities, to inform professionals, birth parents and private foster carers of their legal responsibilities.

12. A Code of Practice should be published by the Department of Health to recognise the differing circumstances of children who are privately fostered, for example, those in host families when on vacation from independent schools; those attending summer schools; those in the UK for medical treatment.

13. Private fostering should be integral to all relevant government initiatives addressed at improving services for children, for example, the Quality Protects Programme.