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Private fostering

Private fostering

Do you know someone under 16* who is living away from their parents or a close relative?

[*or under 18 for a young person with a disability]

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (under 18 if they’re disabled) lives with an adult who is not a close relative for 28 days or more.

There can be lots of reasons why a child doesn’t live at home and their parent has arranged for someone else to care for them. 

Maybe ….

  • They’re living with a family member because their parents are arguing or getting divorced
  • Their parents work very late and cannot look after them
  • They’ve moved in with the family of their boyfriend or girlfriend
  • They were sent to this country for education or health reasons and their parents live overseas

If a child is not living with their parents or a close relative like a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, then the law says you must notify your local authority.  Many parents and carers are not aware of this and therefore do not notify the council. 

Private Fostering poster

A private foster carer does not have parental responsibility for a child which means they have to ask the parents about:

  • Medical or dental treatment
  • School trips
  • Taking the child on holiday etc

What you need to do

If you or someone you know is aware of a private fostering arrangements, please notify us by completing the below form:


Private fostering form


The law says that we need to be told at least six weeks before the arrangement begins or, in an emergency, within 48 hours.  We need to know where the child is living, who they are living with.  We can also provide you with help and advice.

What we will do

We will carry out assessments and arrange regular visits to check the child is being well looked after and we can also give help and advice to carers, parents and the children.

Information for children and young people:

The private fostering website provides useful information for children and young people where you can find out about:

  • What your private foster carer must do for you
  • What a private foster carers must not do
  • What to do if you are having problems living with your private foster carer