Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child aged under 16 years (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for on a full time basis, by an adult who is not their parent or an immediate relative, for a period of 28 days or more. This is a private arrangement made between the parent and the carer.


What counts as private fostering

Examples of private fostering include:

  • If they are living with extended family, great aunts or uncles, cousin, former cohabite of a parent or a non relative
  • Children with parents overseas
  • Children living with host families for a variety of reasons
  • Children on holiday exchange

Children are not privately fostered if they are living with a relative as defined by The Children Act: parent, grandparent, step parent, sibling, uncle, aunt, by full or half relation or by marriage.

Somebody Else's Child: A video guide to private fostering. The following video has been made independently and offers a guide to private fostering for professionals working with children.

Your obligations

If you are a parent or carer, you must tell Children's Services at least six weeks before the arrangement begins, that you intend to privately foster a child.

If however the arrangement is made in an emergency, then you must tell Children's Services within 48 hours; this is now law.

Find out more

For further advice or information about private fostering, please contact Children's Services between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

For more information: