SOMEBODY else’s child is everybody’s responsibility, claims Kirklees Council.
It is the message Kirklees Council is putting forward in a new initiative to help foster carers.
It is thought that many cases of private fostering – where a child is cared for by someone who is not a parent or close relative – are going unreported to the authorities.
Now the council are urging people to get in touch if they know of an arrangement where someone who is not a close relative is caring for another person’s child for more than 28 days.
They have issued a plea of concern, that children without the protection of the authorities are a “particularly vulnerable group”.
In particular the council is asking people who work with children to be aware of private fostering and to notify them immediately if they suspect such an arrangement.
Although these cases are often privately arranged, legally the parent or carer must tell the local authority where the child is going to live so that they can make sure the child is safe and being properly looked after in an appropriate environment.
It is estimated that the national figure for private fostering is at 10,000 and it is feared that some of these “invisible” children could be at risk of abuse, or victims of trafficking.
Clr Cath Harris, Cabinet member for children and families, believes everybody has a part to play in ensuring the safety and well-being of children in the area.
She said: “These invisible children are a huge worry and we all have a responsibility in keeping children and young people safe.
“Anyone who hears about a child who is being privately fostered should let us know straight away.
“It is possible they are safe and well looked after, but we can’t be sure without knowing their whereabouts.
“Help us spread the word and encourage parents, those caring for somebody else’s child and professionals from all agencies to notify us if you know of a child who is being privately fostered.
“By working together we can keep our children and young people safe.”
The call to action is part of a national campaign called Somebody Else’s Child run by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
It aims to raise awareness of private fostering.
Anyone with information is asked to get in touch on 01924 326093.