Clause 12 - Imposition of extra conditions in certain cases

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 14 March 2006.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Children and Families) 12:00, 14 March 2006

I think that the hon. Gentleman is right about that. My officials will throw something at me if I am wrong, but I have not been hit by anything yet. The Bill is not designed to end private fostering arrangements or to end such arrangements in relation to countries to which special restrictions may apply. That is clear. However, the private fostering regulations would require any such arrangement to be notified to the local authority before and on commencement of the arrangement.

I know that some members of the Committee have long-standing concerns about how well private fostering arrangements work, but those arrangements are being strengthened on a voluntary basis, and the idea is that they may be strengthened further if necessary. We can argue about whether that will happen soon enough or whether it should be done now, but there is no doubt that some arrangements designed to regulate private fostering are in force. The Bill is not designed to do that further than the current law does. I hope that that assists the hon. Gentleman   and that I have answered his question. Clause 12 enables the special restrictions to be enforced by setting out the criminal offences.