What is Private Fostering?

An older gentleman with a white beard, is sitting on the sofa with his Great Niece. He is supervising her whilst she plays on her tablet.  She is smiling and wearing her hair in space buns Published: 17th Mar 2022

Many parents who've arranged for someone else to care for their child often don’t realise they have entered into a private fostering arrangement.

What is private fostering?

Private fostering is where a private arrangement has been made by the child’s parent (or someone with parental responsibility) and;

  • the child is under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child is disabled)
  • the child is living with a carer who is not a close relative (defined as: grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or stepparent by marriage)
  • the arrangement is expected to last for more than 28 days and on a full time basis

Examples of private fostering include:

  • children and young people who are sent to this country for education or health care
  • a teenager living with a friend’s family because of a break down of the relationships at their home
  • children or teenagers on school holiday exchanges
  • a child is left with the unmarried partner of their parent because the parent is away for work or another reason
  • where children stay with host families during term time so they can attend professional sports coaching or study at language schools


Private Fostering Facts

1 - A privately fostered child is a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for, or intended to be cared for, by people other than a close relative for 28 days or more. 

- A close relative is defined as: parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, step-parent (by marriage, civil partnership or step parent agreement), sister or brother anyone else is not a close relative!   

- Birmingham Children's Trust will consider whether a privately fostered child is also a Child in Need and consider what support and service is required. 

4 - The suitability of the private fostering arrangement will be assessed by the Safeguarding Officer (SGO) and Private Fostering Team within Family and Friends.  This assessment must be completed within 42 days.

5 - If a privately fostered child lives with a private foster carer, but then has regular overnight stays with a birth parent – such as every weekend or fortnightly; this is then not a private fostering arrangement - but becomes a private care arrangement.

6 - Whilst the private fostering arrangement remains ongoing, The SGO and Private Fostering Team will attend any Child in Need Meetings and provide support and advice to the Private Foster carer as may be required. The arrangement will be reviewed annually by the SGO and Private Fostering Team. 

Who to contact

For advice or discussion about Private Fostering please email or call: cass@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk - 0121 303 1888


email the SGO and Private Fostering Support Team: UG_SGOandPrivateFosteringSupportTeam@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk