If you are getting any benefits for your child (e.g. Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) you should tell each different agency that administers the benefit or tax credit that your child is not living with you any longer. If you do not do this you may have to pay the benefit or tax credit back. Your housing benefit may change under new occupancy rules (known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’) if your child stops living with you. For more information see our advice sheet 8: What happens to your benefits when your child goes into care or lives with someone else.
Also if your child is living with someone else who is not a close relative (for example a cousin or their friend’s mum) for longer than 28 days, then as well as being in a private arrangement they will also be in a private fostering arrangement. This means that you, and the person caring for your child, need to tell Children’s Services as soon as possible. Children’s services details will be in your phone book, or on the local authority website. Once they are told, a social worker will visit the home where your child is staying within seven days. The social worker will speak to the carer and your child and make sure your child is safe and well cared for. The social worker must carry on visiting your child at regular intervals for as long as your child is privately fostered.
If your child is living with a close relative i.e. a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling or stepparent, you do not have to tell Children’s Services or anyone else about the arrangement (except for benefits agencies as above). But you may want to inform your child’s school and GP in writing.
In all circumstances, you may want to tell your child’s school, GP and dentist about the new arrangements for your child as it will be better for the child if those around him/her understand their situation.