Private Fostering

If you’re thinking about asking someone else to look after your child, be aware of what might happen.

Your Local Authority has access to Police records so may know things about them that you don’t. So, it’s important to tell your Local Authority so they can protect your child. Sometimes, parents ask another family to look after their children. This is called private fostering. Parents might want their children to be privately fostered because they work or study long hours, live abroad or may have separated or divorced.

If you want to be a foster carer, find out about the child you are thinking of fostering from their birth parents - things like if they have any medical problems or require a special diet. Register the child with your own Doctor when they come to live with you.

Keep in contact with the birth parents. It’s not always easy being a private foster carer, things can still go wrong. It’s important you all need to be clear about what you expect from each other.

What is Private Fostering?

Private fostering occurs when a child under 16 is cared for, for more than 28 days by an adult who is not a close relative, by private arrangement between the parent and the carer.

The Local Authority has specific duties in relation to private fostering arrangements, these include:

  • Checking the suitability of private foster carers.
  • Ensuring that private foster carers, parents and children are clear about who to contact for advice and support.
  • Monitoring the standards of care.
  • They must notify the Local Authority, it is an offence not to do so.
  • They must inform Children's Services at least six weeks before a planned arrangement begins.
  • If it is an emergency placement or the child is already living in private foster care, then Children's Services must be informed immediately.