What is private fostering?
Private fostering is defined as:
- when a child under the age of 16 is cared for by someone other than a close relative for 28 days or more. If they have a disability, this is under the age of 18
- when a child lives with someone from their extended family, such as a great aunt or uncle
- when a child lives with a friend of the family or of the child
It is not private fostering when a child is living with a close relative. This includes grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles or step-parents.
A parent may be unable to care for their own child because they:
- were sent to this country for education or health care by parents who live overseas
- are a teenager living with a friend's family because of issues at home
- are a child from overseas staying with a host family whilst attending a school or college
People do not realise they have become private foster carers by making informal arrangements with friends.