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Private Fostering

What is Private Fostering?

Private Fostering is when a child or young person under the age of 16 years old (18 if they have a disability) is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who isn’t a close relative , guardian, or person with parental responsibility. Close relatives include parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The law states that carers and parents must notify the Local Authority of any private fostering arrangement. They need to be sure that the child is safe, happy and healthy and offer support to the private foster carer when needed.

Why might a child be privately fostered?

A private fostering arrangement might happen for a number of reasons. This might include:

  • A teenager living with the family of a boyfriend, girlfriend or a school friend because of a family breakdown
  • A child living with a friend of their family because of a separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • A child needing to be cared for because a parent has a long-term illness and is unable to look after their child
  • A child being sent to this country by their parents who are living overseas;
  • A child needing to be cared for because their parent(s) work away from home or work particularly long or unsociable hours
  • A child staying more than 28 days as part of a foreign exchange trip/language school visit

Your responsibility as a Private Foster Carer

  • You must notify Isle of Wight Council Children’s Social Care Department of your intention to privately foster a child
  • Obtain written consent from the parents to have the day to day responsibility of their child
  • Keep in touch with the child’s parents
  • Make sure you have the background information (including medical history) of the child before he or she is placed with you
  • Register the child at your GP

When should the council be told about a private foster care arrangement?

The law requires that Children’s Social Care be told about a private foster care arrangement at least 6 weeks before you intend to privately foster a child or young person. However, if such an arrangement is made in an emergency, then Children’s Social Care should be informed within 48 hours of you caring for a child or young person.

If the private fostering arrangement changes or ends, you must tell the responsible Local Authority within 48 hours of the placement ending. The name and address of the person who has taken over the care of the child must be provided.

If you would like more information about private fostering or if you want to inform Children’s Social Care about a private fostering arrangement, please call  0300 300 0117 (24 hour line)