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Already looking after someone else's child?

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 our form:


Becoming a private foster carer

Giovanni, one of our private foster carers, talks about his experiences.

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