About the week

The aim of ‘Somebody Else’s Child’ is to change behaviour.

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or by marriage/affinity).

To ensure that these children are being well cared for, it is a legal requirement that parents and carers notify their local authority before entering into these arrangements. Notification also enables children’s services to offer help and support to not only the children, but also to carers and parents as well.

There are an estimated 10,000 children living in private fostering arrangements in England and Wales, but last year only just over 1,500 notifications were made to local authorities. While most of these children will be safe, others may be at risk of abuse and neglect at the hands of their private foster carers. Without children’s services intervention, this could go on for years.

Although the legal responsibility lies with the parent and the carer, the campaign is also urging anyone who works with children – teachers, childcare and health care professionals – to play their part. Those who come into regular contact with children can help identify these potentially vulnerable children and help by either speaking to the child’s carer, if appropriate, or informing children’s services. Help us keep children safe and support families’

Media Centre

Research with young people reveals alarming numbers of ‘invisible children’ and their anxieties
Research published in 2010 Read the press release

If you need more information about the campaign or would like to arrange an interview, please call 020 7421 2632/33 (or 07767 44 589 outside office hours for urgent enquiries) or email [email protected]