Private Fostering

Private Fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. This only applies to children aged under 16yrs or 18 yrs old if the child or young person is disabled.

It is not private fostering if the carer is a close relative to the child such as step-parents, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt. This is known as Informal Family Care.

If a private fostering arrangement is made, there is a legal obligation on carers and parents to notify the Children’s Services. They need to be sure that the child is safe, healthy and happy and can offer support to you as private foster carers and parents where needed.

Here are some common situations where children are privately fostered:

  • Where parents can't care for their children for example;  have chronic ill health or are in prison
  • Where children from abroad are sent to stay with relatives
  • Teenagers who have broken ties with their parents and are staying in the short-term with friends
  • Where young people are staying with host families for study – for more than 28 days


If a member of the public needs to let Children’s and Families Service know about a Private Fostering situation they should be encouraged to ring on: (01624) 686179

Professionals should use their usual referral routes via their safeguarding leads.