Private fostering is when a child or young person is being cared for by someone other than their close family.
We need to be aware of these arrangements so we can help and support the child and the carer(s).
To keep children and young people safe, the Government has made it the law for anyone who is looking after someone else's child to inform their local children's services.
The Families, Adopters and Carers Team (FACT) need to be aware of the start date and reason for the arrangement with names, addresses, contact details and dates of birth of each child, their parents, carers and any other children over 16 in the household.
To help keep children safe and support families, all parents, private foster carers and professionals must notify us of private fostering arrangements.
This is because we have a legal duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all children (the Children Regulations 2005, Private Arrangements for Fostering).
Within private fostering arrangements FACT should also be made aware if there are any changes to arrangements, for example, if the child and carers change address, if there are any safeguarding concerns or if the child returns to the care of their parents.
When we are notified of a private fostering arrangement the FACT team will work together with the child, the parents and the 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 worker to support the child and the 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
Workers are required to undertake regular visits to see the child and their carer(s)
Workers offer support and advice and can signpost to other agencies as necessary.
If we think the arrangement is unsuitable we will decide what action to take to safeguard the child’s welfare
Private fostering occurs when a parent arranges or agrees for their child to be cared for by someone other than themselves or close relatives of the child for more than 28 days.
A close relative means a step-parent, grandparent, brother or sister, aunt or uncle by blood, marriage or civil partnership.
A child is anyone under the age of 16 or a disabled young person under 18.
Teenagers who are living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend
A child living away from their family for education or health reasons
A friend who is caring for a child whilst their parent is in crisis.
Families, Adopters and Carers Team (FACT)
Phone 0114 2734998
Adoption and Fostering Service
Moorfoot, Level 7 East
Private Fostering Information leaflets
Information leaflet for parents of privately fostered children
Information leaflet for professionals about private fostering
Information leaflet for young people who are privately fostered
Information leaflet for private foster carers