Is Your Child Being Privately Fostered?

What is private fostering?
Private Fostering is when parents make a private arrangement for their child or children aged under 16 (under 18 for young people with disabilities) to be cared for by
someone other than a close relative or legal guardian for more than 28 days.
For example, this could be with a friend, neighbour, someone in the community or a distant relative, such as, cousin or great aunt. It does not include Grandparents, Brother/Sister, Uncle/Aunt (full blood / half blood or by marriage), or step parent. Both parents and the carer looking after the child have a duty to notify Children’s Services about the proposed arrangement before it takes place.

What do I do if I have made private fostering arrangements?
The law says if you are making private fostering arrangements you must notify Children’s Services in writing at least 6 weeks before you start looking after the child. If it’s an emergency you still need to give Children’s Services at least 48 hours notice.
If you have already made a private fostering arrangement for your child,
please let Children’s Services know as soon as possible.

Why is it important to tell Children’s Services?
 Children’s Services will help to ensure the child is well cared for and safe.
It can be a difficult decision for parents to ask someone else to look after their child. It may be as a result of a family crisis, such as, divorce, breakdown in relationship, illness, or other reason why you can no longer care for your child. Whatever the reason, Children’s Services are here to help you make sure the choice is the right one, to support you, the carers and the child.
 Support includes agreeing the best ways for everyone to keep in touch and finding out whether the carer will be able to claim financial benefits such as Child Benefit. It is important that Children’s Services ensure the caring arrangements are suitable for the child.

What information do Children’s Services need?
The information needed includes:
 Written notice to Children’s Services about the private fostering arrangement including when it is due to start and how long it is likely to last.
 Details of the parents and the private foster carers looking after your child, including names, addresses and contact details.
 Details of the child, including full name, date of birth, ethnic origin, religion, language spoken and especially medical information.
 Notification of any changes in circumstances – including changes of address of parent or carer or ending of the arrangement.

What will Children’s Services do?
A Social Worker will carry out an assessment to ensure the care arrangements are suitable for the child. They will assess whether the child has any additional support needs and regularly visit to provide support, advice and to ensure the child is making good progress.

How do I find out more about Private Fostering?
For further advice and information
Telephone 0161 234 5001    or
If you wish to notify Children’s Services of a Private Fostering arrangement, please contact:
Children’s Services Contact Centre
Telephone 0161 234 5001  or