There is a legal requirement for local authorities to be notified of any private fostering arrangements. Children’s Social Care has a duty to undertake assessments and checks, and to provide support and advice to the child and to the private foster carer.
A private fostering arrangement is one made without the involvement of Children's Social Care for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if special needs have been identified) by someone other than a parent or close relative 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 by marriage.
If you have been looking after someone else's child for 28 days or more, the law requires you to notify your local authority.
Someone you know may have someone else’s child living with them. There are different reasons as to why they may have been asked to look after the child.
Do you know a child being privately fostered? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. Whether you’re a neighbour, teacher, nurse or anyone else who has contact with children there are some signs to look out for:
Signs to be aware of
Typical examples of Private Fostering
Legislation and duties
Under the Children Act 1989 and 2004 private foster carers and anyone with Parental Responsibility are required to notify the local authority of their intention to privately foster or have a child privately fostered.
The Children Act (1989 and 2004) Section 70 created a number of offences in connection with private fostering, including failure to notify an arrangement or to comply with any requirements or prohibition imposed by the local authority.
Teachers, health and other professionals must notify Children's Social Care of any private fostering arrangements that come to their attention.
When a practitioner becomes aware of the possibility of private fostering:
The practitioner has a duty to:
Privately fostered children may be particularly vulnerable.
For advice or further information on child protection please contact :
RBWM Fostering, Adoption and Respite Service
St Ives Road
Telephone: 01628 683201
RBWM Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Telephone: 01628 683150