Looking after someone else's child (private fostering)

What private fostering involves

You are a private foster carer if you look after someone else's child in your home and are not their:

  • grandparent
  • sibling
  • uncle
  • aunt
  • step-parent

The child must also have been living with your for 28 days or more.

Examples of private fostering arrangements

There can be lots of reasons why a child doesn’t live at home and their parent has arranged for someone else to care for them.

Private fostering might take place when:

  • teenagers live with the family of their boyfriend or girlfriend
  • children are sent to this country for education or healthcare but their parents stay overseas
  • a child lives with a friend or extended family as a result of parental illness, separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • the parent is working long hours and therefore the child cannot live at home


A private foster carer does not have parental responsibility for a child which means they have to ask the parents about:

  • medical or dental treatment
  • school trips
  • taking the child on holiday (in this country or overseas)
  • any changes of name or school

How it differs from mainstream fostering

If a child needs to be "looked after" by foster carers, the local authority will make arrangements.

However, with private fostering, the parents and caregiver make this arrangement between themselves.

Private foster carers are also not given an allowance to look after children by the local authority. Financial arrangements are made between the child's parents and the private foster carer.

Contact our private fostering team

If you have any queries, you can contact us using our online form.

Contact us

Alternatively, you can contact us on 01494 586 460 or [email protected]