Private fostering

What is private fostering?

Private fostering arrangements are made, privately, between two parties for a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled). This arrangement would be with someone who is not a parent or close relative, and is due to last 28 days or more

Private fostering is used as a form of childcare by parents who are not able to take care of their child on a day-to-day basis

The Children Act (1989) defines a close relative as a:

  • grandparent
  • brother
  • sister
  • aunt
  • uncle (whether by birth, adoption or marriage)
  • step-parent

None of these would be classed as private foster carers.

Private fostering and the council

  • we do not arrange private foster care
  • you must tell us six weeks in advance if you are setting up a private fostering arrangement. If we are not informed, you may receive a fine
  • we will then check the suitability of the private foster carers
  • in cases of emergency, you must tell us within 48 hours of the arrangement being set up
  • we will make regular visits to the child to check on the standard of care being provided
  • we ensure that private foster carers and birth families have all the necessary information and advice they require
  • you must tell us when a private fostering arrangement has ended

Are you a young person in a private fostering arrangement?

Please see our introduction to private fostering page.

Further information

If you think you are in a private fostering arrangement, or know anyone who may be, please contact our specialist team or call 01702 215007 and select option 1.

Email us for more info

Contact Southend fostering servicess

Telephone: 01702 212938

Useful websites - fostering

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