Sefton Safeguarding Children Partnership

Private Fostering

What is private fostering?

Private fostering is a private arrangement between a parent and a carer.  When a child aged 16 or under, (or under 18 if a child is disabled) is cared for and provided with accommodation by an adult who is not a relative, for 28 days or more, it is called 'private fostering'.  

Sefton Council's Statement of Purpose (Private Fostering) outlines the duties and functions of the Local Authority in relation to Private Fostering arrangements.

What situations can be classed as private fostering?

  • Children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents that live overseas.
  • Children living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home.
  • Teenagers living with a family of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Parent is ill
  • Parent is in Prison

What the law says

Your child is privately fostered - if she/he is under 16 years of age (18 years of age if the child is disabled), and is living with someone who is not a close relative, e.g. a grandparent, aunt or step parent, for longer than 28 days.

You must inform the Local Authority:

  • as soon as possible after making an arrangement for your child to live with an alternative  carer,
  • within 48 hours, if the arrangement is made in an emergency,
  • when the arrangement ends.

If you are caring for someone else's child but were unaware of this requirement, please contact Sefton Children's Social Care Tel. 0345 140 0845.

The Local Authority will check that the child/ren are kept safe, well cared for (in appropriate accommodation) and happy.

To find out more, view Sefton SCP's procedure for Private Fostering (Section 22)

Sefton Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) have produced information power point slides to support agencies in raising awareness of Private Fostering arrangements, click here to download a copy of the presentation slides.

Sefton SCP has produced the following leaflets in relation to Private Fostering:

Private Fostering - Leaflet for Carers

Private Fostering - Leaflet for Parents

Private Fostering - Leaflet for Professionals

Private Fostering - Leaflet for Young People