Private fostering

A private fostering arrangement refers to children who are cared for by people other than their parent or close relative for 28 days or more and who are not subject to any order or arrangement that would place them in the care of the local authority.

A privately fostered child is a child under 16 years (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for by an adult who is not a:

  • parent
  • grandparent
  • aunt
  • uncle
  • step parent (including civil partnerships)
  • sister
  • brother

Where the child is to be cared for in that person's home for 28 days or more.

A child who is looked after or placed in any residential home, hospital or school (where they are receiving full-time education) is excluded from the definition. In a private fostering arrangement, the parent retains parental responsibility.

However, children under 16 years who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school, become privately fostered children for the purposes of the legislation during that holiday period.

If you are aware of a child who may be privately fostered please refer to the private fostering procedure.