Private fostering is where children and young people are looked after by someone who is not a parent or relative for more than 28 days.

Close relatives include grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers or sisters.

The law says you must tell us if you care for a child under 16, or 18 if disabled, under a private fostering arrangement.

Examples of private fostering include:

  • children and young people living apart from their families;
  • minority ethnic children with parents working or studying in the UK;
  • children with parents overseas;
  • children living with host families or "education guardians" for a variety of reasons; and
  • children on holiday exchange.

If you are planning to have your child privately fostered, you should contact us six weeks before the arrangement starts. If it is an emergency arrangement, or the child is already privately fostered, contact us immediately. We will arrange for a social worker to visit within seven days of receiving the notification and, after speaking to the parents, carers and child, will prepare an assessment. The social worker will get to know the child and carers and keep records of how the arrangement is working. It is an offence to refuse to allow a child to be visited.

Professionals and the public are encouraged to notify us about private fostering arrangements so that action can be taken to check those arrangements are suitable for the child.

You can  find out more in our private fostering leaftet (pdf / 108 KB), or you can contact us if you would like further information.