Private fostering happens when a child is being looked after by someone other than a close relative for 28 days or more.

What are my responsibilities?

Education, health and other professionals have a duty to notify the local authority of a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention, where they are not satisfied that the local authority has been or will be notified of the arrangement by the parent or carer.

Some of these arrangements may be recent; some may have been in existence for some time as the parent and carer may not be aware that it is a private fostering arrangement, and so not aware of the need to inform the local authority.

If you know of anyone carrying out a private fostering arrangement it’s your legal duty to let us know and we urge you to contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH):


Following the Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbie, regulations relating to private fostering were amended and strengthened by Section 44 of the Children Act 2004.

The Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulation 2005 clearly sets out the role of the local authority, the parent and private foster carer and related professionals.

Private fostering arrangements can be a positive response from within the community to difficulties experienced by families. Nonetheless, privately fostered children remain a diverse and potentially vulnerable group of children.

Thus the local authority has a legal duty to satisfy itself that the arrangement is satisfactory and that the welfare of these children is being promoted and safeguarded.