Private fostering

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.