Private fostering

Group of young people sat on a wall

Private fostering is when a child or young person 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. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage).

In these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the parent, carer, any anyone else involved in making the private fostering arrangement, to notify their local authority (LA) of the private fostering arrangement.

Who to contact

If you know of a child being privately fostered please don't ignore it. 

It is likely that everything is fine, but it is a legal requirement that the parent / carer inform their local council. If appropriate, speak to the parent or carer. 

You can also get in touch with us directly by contacting our Multi Agency Screening Team (MAST) using the contact details on our Child protection page. By involving us you will make sure that the child or young person is safe and supported and the private foster carer has all the information they need.

If you are worried that a child or young person is being harmed or at risk of harm please get straight in touch with MAST by visiting our Child protection page. If you want more advice or to talk to someone other than the Council there are a range of organisations you can get in touch with:

For more information about Private Foster Care, if you are a private foster carer, if you are a privately fostered young person, if you work with children or if you know of a child being privately fostered, visit:

Sometimes it can be hard to tell. Whether you’re a neighbour, teacher, nurse or anyone else who has contact with children there are some signs to look out for.

Private fostering - information for young people [PDF file 672KB]|PDF file

Private fostering - information for professionals [PDF file 181KB]|PDF file

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Last Updated: 03/11/2015