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 mash@southend.gov.uk or call 01702 215007 and select option 1.

Southend Fostering Services

Telephone: 01702 212938

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