Private fostering is when a person who knows the child but is not their relative, is looking after him or her.
Often, people are privately fostering without realising it.
If the child or young person is:
- under the age of 16 (18 if the child has a disability)
- not a close relative - grandchild, niece, nephew, sibling, or step-child
- in your care for more than 28 consecutive days
Then you are a private foster carer.
Examples of private fostering
You might be a private foster because the child’s parents:
- are in hospital for an extended period
- serving a prison sentence
- are separating, divorcing or going through a family crisis
- have sent them to the UK because of concerns about safety, education or quality of life
- have gone overseas for an extended period to visit relatives, deal with a family crisis or work
What you need to do
We have a responsibility to make sure all privately fostered children are well cared for, safe, and that you are supported.
If you are caring for someone else’s child, and haven't informed us, you must do so immediately.
If you are planning to provide private foster care you must inform us at least six weeks in advance.