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Private fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement where a child or young person lives with someone who is not a close relative, it is not the same as fostering arranged by us.

Are you a private foster carer?

You are a private foster carer if:

  • you look after someone else's child
  • this child is below the age of 16 (18 if disabled)
  • you are not the child's parent, grandparent or other family relative, legal guardian or have parental responsibility
  • you have been caring for them for over 28 days.

Why are children privately fostered?

Parents sometimes arrange for their child to live with someone else because they have to:

  • go abroad for lengthy periods
  • be admitted to hospital 
  • complete full time education lasting several years
  • end a relationship.

Private fostering may also occur when children or young people are:

  • sent from abroad to stay in the UK for educational or health reasons
  • live away from home because they do not get on with their family. 

How can we help?

We do not recruit private foster carers, but we have a legal duty to make sure that children are protected from harm. We can therefore provide support and advice to:

  • Parents
  • carers
  • children who are privately fostered.

If you believe you are a private foster carer, or you are thinking about placing your child with a private foster carer please contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) by:


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