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Private Fostering


​​What is Private Fostering?

When a child / young person under 16 (18 if disabled) lives with someone who is not a close relative for more than 28 days, this is called 'Private Fostering'. 

The law considers a close relative to be a grandparents, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or step-parent. 

It is a legal requirement for parents and private foster carers to notify the Local Authority when a private fostering arrangement is made. This needs to happen at least 6 weeks before the arrangement is due start, or if the child / young person arrives suddenly, no more than 48 hours after he or she has arrived.

Private Fostering is a private arrangement that is made between the parent and the private foster carer. Private foster carers are not Local Authority Foster Carers and the children / young people within the arrangements are not Looked After Children. 

What is your responsibility?
Private Fostering Arrangements are frequently under reported, potentially placing this often vulnerable group of children and young people at risk.

Partner agencies have a responsibility to notify Essex County Council immediately if they become aware of any Private Fostering arrangements and are not satisified that the Local Authority have been, or will be, notified of the arrangement.

We may contact you and other agencies requesting information about the child and/or the private foster carers. A prompt response can help us to make decisions about the suitability of the arrangement quickly and ensure the child's safety. 

If at any time you become concerned about anything affecting the Private Fostering Arrangement, please visit the Essex Effective Support website.

Further information can also be found on the available leaflets: