What is private fostering?
Private fostering is where parents or close relatives of a child arrange for someone outside their family to look after them in their home as if they were their own. There are many situations where children are privately fostered. These could involve:
- children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents from overseas
- children living with a friend's family as a result of a parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
- a teenager living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or
- people who come to this country to study or work, but antisocial hours make it difficult for them to use ordinary day care.
If the child is likely to stay in the person's home for 28 days or more, the law classes this as a private fostering arrangement. The person who looks after the child is called a private foster carer.
How is private fostering different from other types of fostering?
In the UK, when some children cannot live with their own family or if they have problems at home, the local social services will arrange for a foster carer to look after them.
When children are privately fostered it is the parents or very close relatives rather than social workers, who choose the place where they live. Even when this happens, the private foster carers and parents still must follow rules and regulations to ensure the children in their care are safe and well cared for.
The law now states that a child's parents must inform social services if someone other than themselves is looking after their child.
If you are privately fostering or know of somebody who is, please contact our Duty and Assessment Team:
Name: Leicester City Children and Young People's Service
Address: 1 Grey Friars, Leicester, LE1 5PH
Telephone: 0116 253 1191 (Mon - Thur, 8.30am-5pm, Fri 8.30am - 4.30pm)
Minicom: 0116 251 8040
Emergencies: 0116 255 1606 (outside normal office hours, weekends, etc.)