Private fostering

Private fostering

Caring for a child that is not a close relative might be private fostering.

If you, or someone you know, has been caring for a child that is not a close relative then you might be a private foster carer:

  • a privately fostered child is a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) who is being cared for, for 28 days or more, by an adult who is not their close relative
  • it's usually a cousin or great aunt, a friend of the family, or someone who has agreed to take care of the child by private arrangement without involving the council; close relative is defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or by marriage)
  • the parent is still legally responsible for their child
  • Children Services have a legal duty to ensure children in this situation are safe and well

Examples of private foster care arrangements:

  • children and young people who are sent to this country for education or health care by their birth parents from overseas
  • children or young people whose parents work or study long and/or antisocial hours and other people care for their children
  • children or young people who are living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or difficulties at home
  • a teenager living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend

By law if you are caring for a child under a private fostering arrangement you need to let Children's Services know. For more information, please contact your Local Children’s Services Office:

Contact Children's Services

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