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Support available for those who care for someone else’s child

Support is available for adults who look after someone else’s child.

Where a child under the age of 16 is cared for by someone who is not a close relative (or 18 if they are disabled) for 28 days or more, it is known as a private fostering arrangement.

West Sussex County Council offers support and assistance to families who private foster. It could be practical support from a professional allocated to the family to give childcare advice, or help to find activities and other services that are available to them.

Adults who are in a private fostering arrangement must inform the Council. This is so professionals can check the child is living in a safe environment and that everyone, including the child, is happy.

Polly Eason is a West Sussex private foster carer who has benefitted from the Council’s support. Polly said: “I’ve found the support from the social worker and other professional such as the school very helpful and supportive. I was a little anxious about the process at first, but I quickly realised that the support is there to help me to help another family and is about keeping the best interests of the child at heart.”

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, said: “It is possible someone could be in a private fostering without realising it. If so, there is no need to worry – you just need to let us know.

“It is really important that our staff make sure the arrangement is working for everyone and that the child is safe and happy. By getting in touch we can also signpost you to all of the support that is available to you and your family.”

You can let West Sussex County Council know about a private fostering arrangement by emailing wschidrenservices@westsussex.gov.uk or calling 01403 229900. 

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