Private Fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability) lives with someone who is not a close relative (i.e. not their grandparents, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, cousin or step-parents) for 28 days or more unless that person has parental responsibility for them or is a local authority or agency foster carer.
Typical examples of private fostering arrangements are:
- Children sent from abroad to stay with another family to improve their educational opportunities or health care.
- Asylum-seeking and refugee children.
- Teenagers who, having broken ties with their parents, are staying in short–term arrangements with friends or other non-relatives.
- Language students living with host families.
- Children living with a friend’s family because their parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult to use ordinary day care of after-school care.
- Children staying with another family because their parents have separated or divorced.
Under the Children Act 1989, private foster carers and those with Parental Responsibility are required to notify the local authority of their intention to privately foster or to have a child privately fostered, or where a child is privately fostered in an emergency.