Private fostering

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

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

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

Situations often involve:

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

If you are looking after someone else’s child or your child is living with another family for more than 28 days, contact us on 01634 333333 or by emailing us on to get advice, support, and to comply with regulations.

Private foster carers must make sure:

  • that the Children’s Services department knows if someone else comes to live there
  • that the Children’s Services department know when a child leaves and gives them the address of the person caring for the child
  • that the 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
  • be financially responsible for the 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.

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Contact us

If you're thinking about fostering and would like some more information or just an informal chat, please complete the form below and one of our foster care specialists will be in touch: