Here in Wales we are fortunate to have many adults who are prepared to selflessly give their time to provide stability and security to children when they need it most. These individuals include private foster carers, who make private arrangements with parents. Now, as you'll be aware, private foster carers and parents of children placed are required to notify the social services department of those arrangements made so as to promote safeguarding and welfare of those children. What steps will you be taking to ensure that private foster parents, following the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) (Wales) Regulations 2006, know that they have to notify the local authority at least six weeks in advance of any proposed arrangements and that the relevant local authority will then undertake an inspector visit within seven working days and then, obviously, compile the very necessary report?
Response from the Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services:
Well, I thank Janet Finch-Saunders for that question. Obviously, private foster parents need to be covered by these regulations that she has described, but, obviously, it's very important that they know what they have to do. So, I think it is incumbent on the local authority to ensure that private foster parents are made aware, that they make publicly available the information about what private foster parents have to do, because it's extremely important that private foster parents are regulated for the reasons that she's given.