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Private Fostering

Private fostering refers to the situation of a child or young person aged 16 years or under (or up to 18, if they are disabled;) being cared for by someone other than a parent or close relative, for 28 days or more. Carers may be members of the extended family (e.g. cousin, great aunt), friends of the family, or someone the child doesn’t know.

Privately fostered children and young people include those sent from abroad to stay with family members, teenagers who may be living with the family of a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and people living short term with host families while they take a course of study.

Following amendments to legislation, a new duty was placed upon local authorities, parents and carers relating to privately fostered children and young people. The Local Authority has a legal requirement to check the welfare of privately fostered children and young people and ensure they are being safeguarded.

Parents and carers also have responsibilities under the new legislation to report the arrangement to the Local Authority, although many parents and carers seem unaware of this. As a consequence, many arrangements remain unknown.

What Should You Do?

You should regularly check that the home details of children and young people in your organisation. If you become aware of a child or young person who is being privately fostered and believe the local authority may not be aware of this arrangement, they must encourage the parent/ carer to inform the local authority. Additionally staff should report the private fostering arrangements to the Local Authority themselves.

This will help to ensure the welfare of the child or young person is safeguarded.

To report a private fostering arrangement or to gain advice in Stoke-on-Trent contact the Safeguarding Referral Team on 01782 235100.

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