Alert Section

Private Living Arrangements for Children (Private Fostering)

Are you looking after someone else’s child? 

  • Are they under 16?
  • And you’re not a close relative?*
  • Are they staying with you for more than 28 days?

Tell us, we can help. Call: 01352 701000

* A close relative is a biological or legal member of the child’s family such as grandparent, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents or step-parents with parental responsibility. 

Does this apply to me?

If you are not sure if this applies to your situation, please get in touch. or call Childrens First Contact on 01352 701000. 


Somebody Else's Child - A guide to private foster care

If you work with children
If a child is living away from home, they could be at risk. If you know a pupil or child who is under 16 (or under 18 if they have a disability), living with someone who is not a close relative and staying there for longer than 28 days. This is private fostering.

As a professional working with children it is your duty to inform Social Services for Children. Do not risk a child's safety. It is the law to inform the Council, if anyone is aware of a private fostering arrangement.


  • 15 year old girl from America visiting her boyfriend in UK
    Carrie is a 15 year old girl from America. She is visiting her boyfriend Sam who lives in the UK. She is staying for 6 weeks. Carrie has fallen ill and needs medical treatment. Sam’s mum takes her to the local GP but she cannot give medical consent for treatment. They try to contact Carrie’s parents in America, but the treatment is needed urgently.

This is “private fostering” - We would help to ensure that you had the necessary medical consent when a young person is in your care. 

  • 7 year old living with Mum’s boyfriend
    7 year old Jake is living with his mum and her boyfriend. Mum has alcohol problems and has not returned home for 4 weeks. Mum’s boyfriend Robert is caring for Jake but is struggling financially. Mum is not answering her phone. Robert cannot claim child benefit because he does not have parental responsibility for the child.

This is “private fostering” - We would help to ensure that you had the necessary financial arrangements when a child is in your care. 

  • Teenage boy living with his mate’s family
    14 year old boy Jamie is staying with friends following argument with his parents. His friend’s parents Karen and Mick say he can stay as long as he likes and they get on well with Jamie. Jamie’s mum keeps coming to the house, shouting at Jamie to come home. Karen and Mick don’t know where they stand legally.

This is “private fostering” - We would help to ensure that you had the necessary permissions and we could have conversations with the parents on your behalf, when a young person is in your care. 

  • Victoria Climbie
    Victoria Climbie was brought to the UK in April 1999 from the Ivory Coast by her great-aunt Therese-Marie Kouao. Victoria had been brought to the UK in a private fostering arrangement to have the opportunity for a good education. She died on 25 February 2000. The Home Office Pathologist found 128 separate injuries on her body and stated that it was: ᾿the worst case of child abuse I have encountered. In his enquiry Lord Laming highlighted concerns about children in private foster care. Subsequent guidance has emphasised the duty of local authorities to safeguard privately fostered children.

What happens next?
We will need to know the child’s name, age, where the child is living, and with whom. We will need the child’s date of birth, name and address of parents, your name and your contact details.

We will contact you and visit to check that the child is safe. We will help with organising financial arrangements and permissions for medical care etc. We can offer you support and guide you.