Private fostering: everyone’s responsibility

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
Do you know who is looking after me?
Published: 22nd Feb 2021

Getting it right for privately fostered children is everyone’s responsibility. Can you recognise cases of private fostering and do you know how to respond?

What is private fostering?

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a close relative for 28 days or more. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and the child’s carer.

Close relatives are:

  • step-parents
  • grandparents
  • brothers and sisters
  • uncles or aunts (whether by birth/adoption or marriage/civil partnership)

Great aunts/uncles, cousins and family friends are not considered to be close relatives and would need to be assessed as a private fostering arrangement..

Examples of private fostering

Private fostering covers a wide range of situations. Here are some examples:

  • Teenagers living with friends or extended family following problems at home
  • Children who stay with another family while their own parents are unable to care for them (due to hospital admission, prison sentence, or family crisis)
  • Children sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents living overseas

What we need you to do

If you think a child in Birmingham is being privately fostered, you must contact Birmingham Children’s Trust.

If you are not sure, please contact us anyway and we can talk it through. We are here to ensure that all children that are privately fostered are safeguarded and supported and that their  private foster carers and parents receive the advice that they need for a positive private fostering experience. Find out more about Private Fostering  by looking on our website or picking up the phone – link to website

If you would like general advice of information about Private Fostering then please do contact Family and Friends.

Contact Family and Friends team

If you have a referral for a specific child who you think is being privately fostered please contact our Children's Advice and Support Service (CASS).

Contact CASS

Emergency out-of-hours

  • Telephone: 0121 675 4806

Find out what happens after you contact us

Everyone’s responsibility

Getting it right for privately fostered children is everyone’s responsibility. Private fostering sits across the whole Trust as well with our multi-agency partners, families and members of the public.

Together we can ensure that more privately fostered children in Birmingham have the support they need.

Find out more about Private Fostering