The number of children privately fostered in Scotland remains mainly unknown and this was highlighted by the then Care Commission (now Care Inspectorate) publication Private Fostering - the unknown arrangement? (March 2010). It further highlighted confusion about the term 'private fostering' and that greater awareness raising activities were needed.
This guidance is in response to the recommendation that called for the Scottish Government to work with local government to develop and publish good practice guidelines on how local authorities and their children's services planning partners should meet their obligations concerning children being cared for in private fostering arrangements.
The report also highlighted the need for those local authorities to be proactive, on an on-going basis, to identify privately fostered children. It recommended that all children's services plans should state how local authorities will do this and how they will regularly monitor progress.
The report further recommended that local authorities should produce an annual report on private fostering activity in their area for the Chief Social Work Officer. Local authorities should use this to decide whether public information, joint working and practice are robust enough.
This guidance urges local authorities to liaise and raise awareness regularly with education, housing departments and local partners including GPs, police and other relevant bodies to help identify and support appropriate and positive private fostering arrangements and identify any concerns over placements that could put children at risk.