Private foster care occurs when a child under 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their relative for 28 days or more.
This type of fostering is organised through a private arrangement between parent and carer.
You must inform us when a child is privately fostered as we have to ensure the child is safe and properly cared for.
Definition of relative
Private fostering requirements do not apply to if you are a full relation, half relation or related by marriage to the child.
The Children Act 1989 defines a relative as only a:
- sibling, aunt or uncle
Great aunts or uncles, cousins or a parents current of former partner are not defined as relatives.
Types of private fostering
Typical examples of private fostering arrangements are children or young people who are:
- sent to this country by parents who live overseas
- living with a friend’s family because they don’t get on with their own family
- living with a friend’s family because their parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours
- children staying with another family because their parents have separated or divorced
- a child from overseas staying with a host family while studying
Your responsibilities and assessment
You are legally required to tell us in advance about a private fostering agreement and provide details of the child's address.
All practitioners need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across a private fostering arrangement.
Once you have notified us of the agreement we will:
- visit the child within 7 working days of notification and complete a notification form
- complete a private fostering arrangement assessment of suitability and various safeguarding checks including enhanced DBS checks on all household members over 16
- undertake regular visits to the child (every 6 weeks for the first year and 12 weekly thereafter) ensuring that the child is seen alone (unless deemed inappropriate)
- private fostering statement of purpose (PDF, 81KB)
- quick guide to private fostering (PDF, 132KB)
- private fostering leaflet for parents and carers (PDF, 1.3MB)
- private fostering leaflet for children and young people (PDF, 1.1MB)
Or visit the following websites: