A boy's hand thrust forward towards the camera

Private fostering - advice for professionals

Private fostering is a private arrangement made by a child’s parent, or by 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
  • adult brother or sister
  • 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.

There are a range of resources available to download for use when dealing with a child or young person who is, or who you suspect is, in a private fostering arrangement.

These leaflets, including age appropriate leaflets for children under the age of 11 years and young people over the age of 11 years, have been developed to explain this arrangement to parents and carers and young people.

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Although not an exhaustive list, these questions may help to identify a privately fostered child:

  • is the child new to your school?
  • has the child said that they are no longer living with their parents?
  • is their carer vague about routines, needs and the child’s education?
  • who accompanies the child to school - is it someone different to their known carer?
  • do you know who is looking after the child and what their relationship is to the child?
  • do you know who has parental responsibility for the child?

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The CYSCP Private Fostering Narrated PowerPoint Presentation can be found on the CYSCP e-learning platform.

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