Private fostering is a private arrangement where a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if they are disabled) is cared for by someone who is not a parent or close relative for more than 28 consecutive days.
A child or young person is privately fostered if they are living with extended family members such as cousins, great aunts, great uncles or a family friend who are not defined as a relative.
The definition of a relative is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent. Great grandparents are not classed as “relatives” and the partner of a birth parent must be married to the parent to be classed as a “relative”.
The Local Authority is not involved in placing the child or young person in this private arrangement.
Parents and carers who are arranging for their child to live with someone for more than 28 days or who would like more information should contact the Children's Social Care duty team.
During normal working days between 9 am and 5 pm they can be contacted on 01332 641172.
At all other times contact Careline on 01332 786968.
Adults providing a private fostering arrangement will be contacted by Children's Social Care who will carry out an assessment that the arrangement is suitable and that the child will be safe living away from their parents. Further information for adults providing a private fostering arrangement can be obtained from Children's Social Care.
If you are aware that a child is or might be in a private fostering arrangement you should contact Children’s Social Care on the telephone numbers above.
Health Visitors and School admission staff are more likely to become aware that a child is not living with their immediate family.
A Private fostering briefing note and flowchart has been published to support agencies identify and take appropriate action on children and young people who are privately fostered.