A boy's hand thrust forward towards the camera

Private fostering - advice for parents and carers

Is your child living with another family?

Is another family’s child living with you?

Private fostering is a private arrangement made by a child’s parent, or someone with parental responsibility, for the child to live with someone who is not a close relative.

A close relative includes those who are a:

  • grandparent
  • sibling
  • biological uncle or aunt
  • step-parent by marriage or civil partnership

Private fostering applies to children living with:

  • the parents of friends
  • a parent’s ex-partner
  • wider family such as adult cousins
  • friends of the family

Private fostering only applies to children under the age of 16 years old, or under 18 if they have a disability.

Private fostering only applies if the arrangement lasts, or is expected to last, for more than 28 days.

City of York Council Children's Social Care must be notified of any private fostering arrangements. This is to ensure that children in private fostering arrangements are seen and spoken to and their welfare is checked to make sure that children do not suffer abuse or neglect. They will also ensure that the person or people caring for the child and the child’s parents get the help and support that they need.

When the council is told about a private fostering arrangement, a social worker will undertake an assessment. They will visit and speak with the child, the carers and the child’s parents to gather information to be able to make a decision about whether the private fostering arrangement is right for the child. If there are no concerns about the arrangement, the social worker will continue to visit at regular intervals to make sure everything is going well. They are there to offer support and guidance to the child, the carers and parents.

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When a child lives in a private fostering arrangement, the child’s parents keep all legal rights and responsibilities. They are expected to continue to financially support their child. Parents should be:

  • involved in planning the child’s future
  • kept in touch about the child’s progress
  • involved in any decisions made about the child

Parents can end a private fostering arrangement at any point.

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We have some leaflets which you can download and print and share with your child:

To notify of a private fostering arrangement, or for more information about private fostering, contact York Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on telephone: 01904 551900, or email: [email protected].

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