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Private fostering

What is private fostering

Private fostering is a private arrangement between a parent and a carer. When a child under 16 (or 18 if 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.

 A relative in this situation is either a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt. They can be a full or half relation and could be related by marriage. Relatives also include step-parents.

 Partners of the mother or father of a child would not qualify as a relative; neither would extended family members such as great aunts, great uncles or parent’s cousins.

 There are many reasons why a child may be in a private fostering situation. They include:

  • living with a family friend because of a family crisis
  • a teenager (possibly a teenage parent) living with friends or neighbours
  • their parents may be studying or working unsociable hours
  • refugee and homeless children
  • children with parents overseas
  • trafficked children

As a council, we have a legal duty to ensure that children and young people in this situation are safe and properly cared for. Under the Children Act, you must tell us if you are entering into a private fostering arrangement.

Please note: it is an offence not to notify the council of such an arrangement.

Private foster carers will receive support and advice and will have access to information that will help them understand their rights and tasks as private foster carers.

Children and young people will have access to support and information which will help them to understand what the private fostering arrangement means.

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Information for parents

If someone else is (or will be) looking after your child, you must:

  • check that the placement is suitable for your child
  • contact Haringey’s Children and Young People’s Services at least six weeks before the arrangement begins or within 48 hours of the arrangement being made in an emergency.

Parents will receive valuable advice and information about setting up maintaining the private fostering arrangement.

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Private fostering regulations

The government re-introduced private fostering regulations in July 2005, making it a duty for private foster carers and parents to notify the council if:

  • they intend to privately foster, or
  • they already privately foster.

The council is the one in which the private foster carers live.

The regulations are intended to make sure that all children who do not live at home are safely cared for and their carers are supported.

If you are a professional and you are aware of a private fostering arrangement you have special duties in relation to the private fostering arrangements.

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Further information

We have a duty to make sure that every child in Haringey is safe and properly cared for. If you are being privately fostered, a professional that knows of a private foster carer or you are a private foster carer, we need to know who is looking after the young person and where they are living. You can contact us using the details below.

You can also download the Haringey Private Fostering app at the following links

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Contact us

Email mashreferral@haringey.gov.uk

Phone 020 8489 4470

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Page last updated:

October 27, 2023