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Private Fostering

Sometimes a parent may arrange for their child to live with another family. Sometimes a young person may decide to leave home and live with another family. This may be just for a few days, or may be for longer. It it’s for longer than 28 days it could be a private fostering arrangement.

What is private fostering?

By law, an arrangement to look after and give a home to someone else’s child is private fostering, if:

  • The child is under 16 years old (or under 18 years, if the child is disabled);
  • The person caring for the child is not a close relative of the child. The law defines a close relative as the child’s grandparent, step-parent, aunt, uncle, brother or sister; and
  • The arrangement is expected to last more than 28 days.

Private fostering is an informal arrangement made between private individuals and is different from public fostering which is arranged by and paid for by the local authority.

What needs to be done when a child is in a private fostering arrangement?

The law says that the person making the private fostering arrangement or the private foster carer must notify their local authority about the arrangement at least six weeks before it starts (or immediately, if it has already started).

Once the local authority has been notified, they have to:

  • Visit the home where the child lives and carry out some checks
  • Make regular visits to make sure the child continues to be safe and well cared for
  • Make sure that advice and support are available to the private foster carer, and
  • Say whether or not they find the arrangement acceptable.

Notify East Sussex Children’s Social Care

If you are making arrangements for your child to live with another family or you are a private foster carer, you must contact the Family Plus Team as soon as possible.

Family Plus Team
Tel: 01323 463010
Email: familyplusteam@eastsussex.gov.uk

Address:
St Mark’s House, 14 Upperton Road,
Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1EP

What are the responsibilities of parents and private foster carers?

When a child is privately fostered, the child’s parents still have full parental responsibility in the eyes of the law.

The private foster carer does not have parental responsibility for the child. However, they are responsible for carrying out duties agreed with the child’s parents and must allow a representative of the local authority to visit the child and their home.