FOSTER families in Gloucestershire are being reminded that they should let the local authority know if they are looking after children that is not theirs.

Looking after someone else’s child is known as private fostering and it can be a really positive experience for children and young people, but can put others at risk.

That is why as part of this year’s Private Fostering Awareness Week, which started on Sunday, July 6, people are being urged to let Gloucestershire County Council know.

Private fostering is when a child under 16, or under 18 with disabilities, is cared for by someone other than a close family member including a parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle, for more than 28 days.

Last year there were also a higher number of 15-year-olds in private fostering arrangements in Gloucestershire, who completed their GCSEs and made arrangements for post-16 education due to the kindness and commitment of their carers.

Between April 2013 and June 2014, Gloucestershire County Council was notified of 66 referrals for privately fostered children.

Delia Amos, service manager for fostering and adoption, said: “It is essential that the council is made aware of private fostering arrangements for the safety of children.

“We would ask that anyone who knows about a private fostering arrangement gets in touch with us.”

If you are aware of a private fostering arrangement in Gloucestershire, please contact the Children and Families Helpdesk on 01452 426565.