The students are working with Middlesbrough Council’s Safeguarding and Children’s Care Services team to look at the issue of Private Fostering.
A privately fostered child is an under-16 (or under-18 if disabled) who is cared for by someone who is not a direct family member or legal guardian for 28 days or more in that person’s home.
These arrangements are made privately and the responsibility for the welfare and support financially of the child remains with parents.
However, under the Children Act 2004 there is a legal necessity that the Local Authority is made aware of such arrangements.
In Middlesbrough just two families are currently registered as being in a Private Fostering arrangement – but it is thought there are likely to be many others who are simply unaware of the issue.
The Council and University hope the finished film could be used to raise further awareness of the issue.
It is being made by students in TV and Film Production and Broadcast Media Production and producer Kathryn Dowson said: “It’s great to be able to put our first year’s work into practice and get to work on a live project.”
Claire Fletcher, Placement and Projects Officer at Teesside University, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to work hands-on on making and producing a short video. It is quite a challenging project and will stretch them and allow them to really test their abilities.”
Councillor Mike Carr, Executive Member for Children’s Social Care, said: “We do believe there will be many families in Middlesbrough who are living quite happily, yet completely unaware, that they are in a private fostering arrangement.
“We hope this film may help explain the issue and to let people know that there are legal requirements to let the local authority know and that there is also help and support available.”