Herts County Council is urging families to get to grips with the laws on private fostering.
The authority says many parents and carers are unaware they need to notify the council if a child under 16 is living away from close relatives for 28 days or more. For disabled children, the limit is 18.
According to Richard Roberts, Herts County Council cabinet member for children’s services, there can be many reasons why a child doesn’t live at home, but the arrangement is classed as private fostering and failing to report this to the council is illegal.
Mr Roberts said: “By notifying us of an arrangement, we are able to give advice and support to the young person, carers and parents to ensure that the arrangement is meeting the young person’s needs.
“It is a legal requirement that the parent or carer let their local council know so that we can offer help and support, where needed, to the children as well as the carers. If you are caring for a child or young person who is not a close relative, and you expect them to be staying for more than 28 days, please get in touch.”
For more information, visit hertsdirect.org or privatefostering.org.uk/public.
If you know of a child or young person who is not living with their parents call Herts County Council’s customer service centre on 0300 123 4043.