Private fostering is a private arrangement agreed by the child’s parents.

Private fostering could involve:

  • caring for a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability)
  • a child living with a carer that is not a parent or close relative
  • caring and housing a child for more than 28 days on a full time basis

Who are private foster carers

Private foster carers could be:

  • friends of the child’s family
  • someone willing to care for the child of a family they don’t know
  • distant relatives such as a great aunt or first cousin

Private fostering situations often involve:

  • children living apart from the family when their parents go to work, college or are in hospital
  • children living with host families overseas
  • children on holiday exchanges
  • teenagers living with a friend’s family because of problems at home

Contact us if you are looking after someone else’s child, if your child is living away from home, or if you are no longer living with your parents for more than 28 days.

You can phone us on 01634 335 726 or by emailing us on privatefostering@medway.gov.uk to get advice, support, and to comply with regulations.

Professionals have a duty to tell us if they become aware of circumstances like these. Failure to report could result in a fine.

Responsibilities

Private foster carers must make sure that the:

  • Children’s Services department knows if someone else comes to live in the same house
  • Children’s Services department know when a child leaves and gives them the address of the person caring for the child
  • child has medical checks before or soon after they’re placed

The parents should:

  • tell us of the arrangement 6 weeks in advance (48 hours if in an emergency)
  • keep parental responsibility and make sure the arrangement fits the child and their needs
  • provide as much detail as possible to the carer about their child's information
  • be financially responsible for the child
  • keep in touch with the carer and their child

We will:

  • allocate a social worker to the family
  • check the arrangement is suitable and tell the parents, carer and child
  • visit the child and their carer every 6 weeks in the first year (every 12 weeks after the first year)

Get more information on Medway Safeguarding Children Board or from CoramBAAF

Guide to private fostering

For more information download our private fostering guide for: