Private Fostering Month - October 2020


What does private fostering mean?

A child is privately fostered when they are cared for on a full-time basis by adults, who are not their parents or a close relative (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or grandparents by birth or marriage) for a period of 28 days or more.


Why are children privately fostered?

There could be variety of reasons why a child is privately fostered such as:

  • Children sent to the UK for education or health care by parents who live over-seas.
  • Children attending a language school in the UK.
  • Teenagers who have become estranged from their parents and are living with friends or wider family (not close relatives).
  • Children staying with another family due to parents’ divorce/separation
  • Children living with someone else because their parent/s may be hospitalised or in custody.


Telling Children’s Social Care about a private fostering arrangement

Private foster carers are legally required to notify Children’s Social Care, but many do not, or do not know that they have to. This means that social workers are unable to check whether children are being properly cared for, and may not be in a position to protect privately fostered children who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

Any professionals working with families also have a responsibility to notify Children’s Social Care of any private fostering arrangements they become aware of.


Do you suspect that a child may be privately fostered?

  • Has the child mentioned that they are no longer living at home or that they are living with someone else?
  • Is the child accompanied to school/nursery/clinic by someone other than a parent or recognised carer?
  • Is the carer vague about the child’s routines or needs?
  • Has a patient turned up at the GP surgery with a new child or series of different children?
  • Has a child in class at school disappeared?
  • Is there anything unclear on files/records about the child’s living arrangements?
  • Is the child under the age of 16 (or 18 if they have a disability)?
  • Is the child living with someone other than a parent, someone with parental responsibility or a relative?
  • Do you know what the child’s living arrangements are (who with, for what purpose)?
  • Is it clear who the child is living with, and what relation the person is to the child?
  • Has the child been living, or is likely to live, away from home for more than 28 days, or a series of days totalling 28 days or more?
  • Has the child come from overseas? Do you know the reason for the child’s entrance to the UK?
  • Is the child in the UK for the purpose of education?
  • Is the child an unaccompanied asylum seeker?
  • Do you think that the child may have been trafficked?


Who do I notify?

Notify Children’s Social Care of the arrangement. Email  with basic details about the arrangement or call 01925 443400.


Further information and advice