What is private fostering
Private fostering is when a child aged under 16 years (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for on a full-time basis, by an adult who is not their parent or an immediate relative, for a period of 28 days or more. This is a private arrangement made between the parent and the carer. Private fostering is an arrangement agreed between the child’s parent/s (or persons who have parental responsibility) and the person or family who will be caring for the child.
A private foster carer is someone who is not the child’s parent (or legal step-parent (including civil partnerships) or someone else with parental responsibility), grandparent, or sibling (including half-siblings).
Examples of private fostering
- Children sent from abroad to live with other families, or extended family members, in the UK
- Children whose parents have paid someone to care for them whilst they are away working or studying
- Unaccompanied minors who are living with friends or someone who was previously unknown to the family who is willing to privately foster their child
- Teenagers living with the family of a friend
- Children who are attending schools in the UK and who live with a local family
- Children brought to the UK for adoption
- Children and young people, who have to live away from their own family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
View our private fostering (PDF, 3184.32 KB).
Birth parent responsibilities
You must tell your Local Authority at least 6 weeks before the arrangement begins that you intend for somebody else to privately foster your child. However, if the arrangement is made in an emergency the notification must be made within 48 hours of the placement starting.
The information provided by birth parents to the private foster carer must include the child’s full name, date of birth, ethnicity, religion/beliefs, special needs, medical needs, school and doctor details. There should also be details about the reason for, and the intended length of the private fostering arrangement
Enfield Council’s Social Care has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their borough and to ensure that those in private fostering arrangements are safe and secure.
To fulfil this duty, we will:
- assess the suitability of the arrangement by acting on any information provided by parents, carers and professionals
- check the suitability of the carer and their accommodation
- visit the carer and child every 6 weeks (the first visit will take place within 1 week), and after 1 year of the child living with their carer, the visits will then be every 12 weeks. *Speak to the child alone.
- offer advice and support to the carer, child and parents
- ensure statutory checks are completed on all adults living in the private foster carer’s home
- ensure two references are completed on the private foster carers
- make contact with the birth parent(s) usually at the start and end of the fostering arrangement and during the placement too if required
How to get in touch
If you know of a private fostering arrangement, you must contact Enfield Council’s Children’s Social Care. You can do this by contacting Enfield’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) by telephone on 020 8379 5555, or using Enfield’s online children’s service portal. You do not need to give your name when you get in touch.