asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether all local authorities are (a) assessing the suitability of privately arranged fosterings which have been notified; and (b) visiting children so placed every six weeks in their first year of placement, as required under the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/1533). [HL1638]
In the year ending 31 March 2007, the last year for which we have data, in England, out of 1,420 new private fostering arrangements, 1,410 initial visits were carried out; in Wales 57 initial visits were made in respect of 60 notified private fostering arrangements. These initial visits form part of the process for assessing the suitability of private fostering arrangements. We do not collect data on the other safeguarding checks local authorities should be conducting.
Information is not held centrally, for England or Wales, on the number of visits subsequent to initial visits.
These are devolved matters. While similar arrangements operate in Wales, where the Children Act 2004 also applies, there are different arrangements for private fostering in Scotland and Northern Ireland.