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Private Fostering is when a child under the age of 16, or 18 if disabled, is living with someone who is not:
• A parent
• A close relative
• Someone who has parental responsibility
Under these arrangements, the law defines a close relative as a child’s brother or sister, grandparent, step-parent, aunt and uncle. An aunt or uncle must be the sister or brother of one of the child’s parents.
Private foster carers may be extended family such as a cousin or great aunt, a friend of the family or parents of a child’s boyfriend or girlfriend. They could also be someone unknown to the family who is willing to privately foster a child.
These arrangements have to last for a total of 28 days or more. It does not matter if the carer is paid or provides care for free – it is still regarded as private fostering.
• Private fostering is not arranged or paid for by the Local Authority
• It requires parental consent. If parents do not agree to it, then the Local Authority will still assess the situation
• It is used by parents to make arrangements for the care of their children, often for a fixed period of time because of work commitments or because they are living abroad although there may also be other reasons
• Private fostering includes arrangements made by independent or language school for a child under 16 or 18 if disabled, to live with a host family for more than 28 days
• Anyone who is aware of an arrangement they think might be private fostering must inform the local authority. We have a duty to assess the suitability of those arrangements and provide support if necessary.
For more information on Private Fostering please visit the website above.