Private Fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement between a child’s parents and a private foster carer.  Children are privately fostered if they live with someone for 28 days or more or are placed with the intention that they will stay for 28 days or more.

Private fostering applies to children under the age of 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) and doesn’t include arrangements made between the child’s parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles or step parents.  All other relatives would be considered private fostering.

What should I do if I intend to privately foster a child?

You must advise your Local Authority.  If you live in Redbridge, this is the London Borough of Redbridge Children’s Services.  You should advise the Borough of your intent six weeks prior to the child coming to stay with you.  If you agree to privately foster a child within six weeks you must notify them immediately.

What will Children’s Services do regarding privately fostered children?

They will check upon your suitability as a  prospective foster carers and other members of your household.  They will visit the child and offer you advice and support.

What should I do if I think I might be privately fostering a child?

Both parents and private foster carers and the Local Authority have a legal duty to make sure that the privarte fostering arrangement is safe for the child.  If you are entering into a private fostering arrangement you must inform Children’s Services by contacting the Child Protection and Assessment Team (CPAT) via 020 8708 3885 or by e-mailing

The Team will take details from you and arrange for a social worker to visit to discuss the private fostering arrangement.  It is an offence not to notify the Local Authority of a private fostering arrangement.