What is private fostering?

Private fostering is where a private arrangement has been made by the child’s parent (or someone with parental responsibility) and;

  • the child is under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child is disabled)
  • the child is living with a carer who is not a close relative (defined as: grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or stepparent by marriage)
  • the arrangement is expected to last for more than 28 days and on a full time basis

Many parents who've arranged for someone else to care for their child often don’t realise they have entered into a private fostering arrangement.

If you're looking after someone else’s child who is not a close relative then the law says you need to let the local authority know.