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Flintshires invisible children

Published: 18/09/2014

Flintshire County Council’s social services is joining forces with local authorities across Wales this week from 15 -21 September to raise awareness of children who are living away from their parents, staying with friends and distant relatives and unknown to the local authority. Local authorities in Wales are calling on residents and anyone working with children to inform their local Council if they know of a child living away from home. Known as private fostering, these are private arrangements made by parents for someone to care for their child or when young teenagers stay with friends due to arguments at home, which turns into a more permanent situation. Privately fostered children are particularly vulnerable because of their invisibility to authorities and Social Services for Children are receiving a very low number of notifications of children living away from home. Jenny White, Private Fostering Social Worker, Flintshire County Council said: “In Flintshire we have received eight referrals this year, but we know there must be many more children out there; living away from home. Many people do not realise that it is the law to inform the Council if you are aware of a private fostering arrangement. “The Council will make sure the child is safe, arrange for carers to receive medical consent for emergencies, support the child to keep in touch with their family, ensure they are attending school, and provide the private foster carer with financial advice such as how to claim child benefit. “In Flintshire, many of the children we are helping are young teenage girls who have left home due to arguments with their parents. We are able to support them and their carers with financial advice, general support and to stay safe.” If you would like to discuss a child’s circumstances in confidence, please call Flintshire County Council Social Services on 01352 701000 - option 1. Editor’s note Private fostering could be: - a child or young person from overseas staying with a UK host family for educational or health reasons - a child or young person unable to live with their family for a period of time, for example due to ill health of parents, parental work commitments or care concerns - a teenager who has run away from home and staying with her friends family It is not private fostering when children live with, and are cared for by, their aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents or step-parents