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

It’s different to a fostering arrangement that is organised by the council and applies to any child up to the age of 16, or under 18 if the young person has a disability.

When parents make plans for their child to be cared for like this, regardless of how the arrangement came about or how good it may be for the child, it is private fostering.

By law Oldham Council must be notified when parents make arrangements for their child to be cared for by someone other than a close relative (for example; friends, neighbours or extended family) for more than 28 days.

We can provide valuable advice and guidance needed to both the child and the person caring for them.

Please get in contact with us if you are carrying out a private fostering arrangment

Tell us about private fostering

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):

What happens when a notification is made?

We’re here to support you.

A private fostering officer will arrange to visit the private foster carer, child and parent within seven working days.

Once a private fostering arrangement is confirmed, the private fostering officer will visit and provide advice and support as necessary for the child, parents and private foster carer.

The support offered includes

  • assistance for carers in applying for services
  • mediation between parents and carers if necessary
  • ensuring that relevant financial support (for example child benefit) is received by the carers

We also work with the child to see how they feel about the situation, check they are being well cared for and going to school.

We will complete a report and visit the child at least once every six weeks during the first year and every 12 weeks after that. This will allow us to find out the best way to provide tailored support.

Who is considered a close relative?

Close relatives are:

  • Child’s grandparents
  • Parents
  • Older brothers or sisters
  • Blood-related aunts and uncles
  • Any carer with a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order (granted by UK courts)

A child’s cousins, great aunts and uncles, as well as parents’ ex-partners, family friends and neighbours are not close relatives, even though they may have a close relationship with the child.

Examples of private fostering

Private Fostering happens for lots of different reasons some of which include:

  • Children living with a friend’s family as a result of separation, divorce or problems at home
  • Children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents living overseas
  • Teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Teenagers who have broken ties with their parents and are staying with friends or non-relatives
  • Those living with host families whilst pursuing courses of study