PEOPLE are being encouraged to flag up cases of private fostering in an attempt to help protect the welfare of children.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council is reminding people that they need to be notified of any arrangements where someone, who is not a close relative, cares for another person's child for 28 days or more as it is considered private fostering.

The authority has issued a plea to hear from anyone who has made such arrangements, or is aware of others doing so, to allow officials to ensure children are properly cared for and given any support required.

The council is particularly asking people who work with children to think more about private fostering and act immediately if they are aware that such an arrangement is in place.

Councillor Joan Guy, the council's cabinet member for children's services and education, said: "It is often the case that people who are privately fostering children do not know that they need to make the council aware.

"However, the safety and well-being of children is, of course, of paramount importance and it is vital that we are notified of such cases."

Private fostering laws apply to children aged under 16, or 18 if they have disabilities.

Anyone planning to privately foster should alert the council at least six weeks before the child comes to live with them, or within 48 hours if it occurs in an emergency situation.

Private fostering arrangements can be reported to the council on 01642-771500.