Private fostering is when a child 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/affinity).
Parents and private foster carers are legally required to notify the local authority before a private fostering arrangement begins. The local authority must check that private foster carers are suitable people to do the job and with their permission will carry out checks with people like the police and their GPs. We will also check that the accommodation is safe and suitable.
Professionals in the education, health and social care fields need to help us by ensuring they are proactive in identifying and notifying us of private fostering arrangements that they may become aware of.