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Private Fostering

Information about private fostering and inform the council of an arrangement

Tell Us About A Private Fostering Arrangement

Private fostering occurs when a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) is cared for and provided with accommodation by an adult who is not a close relative (defined as a grandparent, sibling, step parent or a parent's sibling) for 28 days or more, by private arrangement between the parent and carer.

It is the responsibility of both the parent and the carer to notify the council of a private fostering arrangement at least six weeks before the arrangement begins.

In emergency situations, the notification should be made within 48 hours of the arrangement starting. The council is then required to monitor the arrangement and provide advice and support to the child, the carer and the child's parent(s) as necessary.

Under private fostering arrangements, parental responsibility remains with the child's parent(s), and it is important that all information and decisions that affect the child's welfare continue to be made and communicated through the parents.

The council's role is to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. This is done through regular visits to both the child and the carer, giving help and advice, liasing with the parent(s) and ensuring that any additional resources (such as education or health) are made available.

Private fostering situations could involve:

  • children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents living overseas
  • children living with a friend's family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • children whose parents study or work involves unsociable hours, which makes it difficult for them to use ordinary day or after school care

The Children Act makes it an offence not to notify the local council of private fostering arrangements.

Tell us about a private fostering arrangement

If you are involved in, or know of an existing, private fostering arrangement that has yet to be notified, please Icon for pdf see our private fostering information leaflet [328KB] and fill in our online private fostering notification form. Please complete as many sections as you can.

For more information about private fostering, please see the leaflets below:

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