Private fostering

If you are looking after someone else's child

We all love spending time together as a family but sometimes arguments happen, relationships break down, families can experience loss and bereavement or family members may need to live abroad for a period of time for work commitments or issues with extended family.

During this time and your children or teenagers may be looked after by close friends of the family, or their own friends and their families. This can be for a few days or a few weeks, however after 28 days this becomes a more formal arrangement called private fostering.

Hosting an education exchange visit counts as private fostering if it is for more than 28 days. If you offer regular respite care to a child and the number of days adds up to more than 28 over the course of the year, that is also considered to be private fostering.

Not many people have heard of private fostering and it is easy to assume that when you're just helping someone out, you don't need to make it official.

However, the law says families must tell the Council about private fostering arrangements, even if it is only temporary. This is so we can be sure that all children are safe and we can provide vital information and support to people who are looking after someone else's child; from parental advice to claiming additional benefits and funding for essential items.

Please contact us if:

  • your child is being privately fostered
  • you are currently privately fostering a child or planning to in the future
  • you know someone who is looking after someone else's child.