Already looking after someone else's child?

Becoming a private foster carer

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

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. This could be because:

  • their parents work very late and cannot look after them
  • they're living with a family member because their parents are arguing or getting divorced
  • 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.

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 calling 01494 586460 or by completing our form:

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