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Private fostering

Here you will find the following information:

  • What to consider if you want to be a Private Foster carer
  • Why we have to be involved
  • What we will do
  • What if the situation changes
  • Support and Advice
  • How to get in touch

What is Private Fostering?

If you are caring for someone else’s child for 28 days or more this is called Private Fostering.
Private fostering is when a child is under 16 years of age (or under 18 if they have a disability) and is living and being looked after for more than 28 days by someone who is not;
  • A parent
  • A close relative i.e. grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or step-parent
  • A person with parental responsibility for the child

There are lots of reasons why children are privately fostered including;

  • Children sent to this country for education or for medical needs by their parents who live overseas.
  • Children who live with a friend’s family because their parents have separated or divorced or because of arguments at home.
  • Teenagers who live with their girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s family.
  • Children whose parent’s study or work involves unsociable hours, which makes it difficult for them to use day care or after school care.
  • Children or teenagers on holiday exchanges.
  • Children at independent boarding schools who do not return home for holidays and live with host families.
A lot of people don’t realise they are private foster carers as they have made informal arrangements with friends. Parents and carers are required by law to inform us if they have a private fostering arrangement in place. 

What to consider if you want to be a Private Foster carer

If you are thinking of Privately Fostering a child then all you need to do is contact the Families, Adopters and Carers Team (FACT) details below.

Why we have to be involved

Currently, only a small number of private foster carers and parents are notifying local authorities, as the law requires. Many private foster carers and parents are not aware of the need to notify the local authority, and others are reluctant to do so.
To help keep children safe and support families, all parents and private foster carers must notify us of a private fostering arrangement. This is because the local authority has a legal duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all children (The Children Regulations 2005, Private Arrangements for Fostering).

What we will do

We will work together with the child, the parents and private foster carers to ensure that the best possible arrangements are in place for the child, including;
  • Listening to what the child wants.
  • Arranging for a social worker to support the child and carer(s).
  • Helping carer(s) to fill in the necessary forms to apply to be a private foster carer.
  • Helping to ensure that the child’s cultural linguistic and religious needs are being met.
  • If we think the arrangement is unsuitable, we will decide what action to take to safeguard the child’s welfare.

What if the situation changes

If you are privately fostering you must also let us know as soon as possible if there are any changes to your arrangements, for example if you move house or change address, if someone moves into or out of the house, or if someone living in the house commits an offence. You should also plan for and discuss any changes with the parent(s) and the child.

Support and Advice

There is lots of information and advice for parents, private foster carers and children who find themselves in this position. To find out more contact the FACT team. 

How to get in touch

Families, Adopters and Carers Team (FACT)
Telephone - 0114 273 4998


  • Modified: Sep 18, 2015 9:40:45 AM