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Informal babysitting for a child in foster care

This guidance is intended friends or family members of a foster carer – someone within their informal ‘support network’.

If you have agreed with a friend or family member that they will support you by providing informal babysitting or childcare, you should ensure that they are aware of the following information.

This information is not applicable to overnight stays.

We want life for children in care to feel as ‘normal’ as possible. This means we place trust in our foster carers to exercise appropriate judgement when choosing friends or family members who can provide babysitting for fostered children – just as they would for their own children.

We will perform a DBS check, but we trust that the foster carer knows you well enough to assess that you will provide an appropriate standard of care for short periods of time whilst babysitting.

If a foster carer trusts you with the care of a fostered child, you are responsible for the supervision of the child at all times. 

You must not leave the child in the care of any other person (unless previously agreed by Fostering Devon).

Fostering Devon do not provide payment for informal babysitting/childcare.

DBS checks

Before you can provide babysitting or childcare to a fostered child, you need to be 18 years or above and have a DBS check completed by Fostering Devon.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept DBS checks from other organisations or your employer – we need to complete our own.

Fostering Devon will take your details and verify your ID documentation for the DBS check.

Your DBS check will be ‘home-based’ – this means that it will include any information held by police in relation to your home address that might have relevance for safeguarding, for example, if there is a police marker on your address for any reason.

Important things to consider

Do you know any relevant health information about the child? For example, do they have any allergies or will they need to take any medication during their time with you?

Do you know about the child’s like or dislikes and their daily routine?

Do you need to know anything extra to keep the child safe? For example, is there anyone that poses a risk to the child? Does the child pose a risk to anyone else?

Some children in care have restrictions around which family members can have contact with them – do you know enough about this?

Do you know enough about your duty to protect the child’s privacy and confidentiality?

Have you got emergency contact details for the foster carer?

If you are not sure about any of these things, talk them through with the child’s foster carer. They can seek advice from their social worker if needed.

Important contact information

Fostering Devon Duty (to speak to a fostering social worker on duty during business hours) call 01392 383000 and ask for “Fostering Devon Duty”.

Emergency Duty Team (out-of-hours emergency contact for social care in Devon) call 0345 600 0388.

Promoting Stability Team duty number (talk to a family practitioner to ask for advice about caring for a fostered child) call 01392 381491 – available daily, inclusive of weekends, until 10 pm.

Missing persons procedure

If a fostered child in your care goes missing phone 999 to report the child missing.

Phone the child’s foster carer to inform them – they will follow the rest of the Fostering Devon protocol for a child missing from care.

If any child or adult is in immediate danger always dial 999.