Looking after someone else's child: Private fostering


Private fostering is when a child under 16 years old (or 18 if they have a disability) is living and being cared for by someone who is not a close relative or parent for more than 28 days.

These arrangements are made privately and informally.

A private foster carer may be a:

  • neighbour
  • cousin
  • family friend

It is not classed as private fostering if the carer is a close relative, for example:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Step-parents
  • Aunts or uncles

Private fostering is not the same as regular fostering.

Regular foster carers have been formally assessed and approved by the Council, and then work with us to look after other people's children.

If carers who are privately fostering a child do not inform the Council then they will be without support.