Are you caring for someone else's child? Are you being cared for by someone other than a parent? If so, you could be in a private fostering arrangement.
If you are in a private fostering arrangement, or plan to enter such an arrangement, please read the guidance below and contact the City of London Corporation's Children and Families Team. You can email the team or telephone: 020 7332 3621
Designed to help train practitioners on issues facing children from overseas, our app is a great source of information for parents, caregivers and young people. You'll find it at the Apple Store or Google Play store by searching 'private fostering'.
Private fostering is an arrangement made between a parent and a carer who is not a close relative to look after and provide accommodation on a full-time basis to a child or young person under the age of 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) for a period of more than 28 days.
Usually, a birth parent chooses and arranges a private fostering placement. Private foster carers do not hold parental responsibility.
If you are living with a private foster carer, your parents and the private foster carer must tell the City of London Corporation’s Children and Families Team that you are living with someone who is not your parent or close relative.
There are various reasons why a parent might arrange for a private foster carer to look after their child:
If you are unsure whether you or your child's carer counts as a close relative, or you have any other questions about private fostering, please contact the City of London Corporation's Children and Families Team on 020 7323 3621, or email the team directly.
Under the Children Act 1989, parents must:
People intending to be foster carers must:
Foster carers may be able to claim Universal Credits. To find out more, please contact the City of London Corporation's Benefit Team via email or telephone: 020 7323 3621 / Out of Hours: 020 8356 2710.
Contact the City of London's Children and Families Team for advice and to arrange support services.
Email the Children and Families Team or phone 020 7323 3621.
All professionals who work with, or have contact with, children and young people have a shared responsibility to ensure that privately fostered children are well cared for and are safeguarded from harm.
Professionals play an important role by identifying and notifying the City of London Corporation's Children and Families Team of private fostering arrangements and by ensuring that parents and carers are aware of their responsibilities.
The Children and Families Team should be notified of all private fostering arrangements based in the City. Please email the team or telephone 020 7323 3621
Private fostering is when you are under the age of 16 (or 18 if you have a disability) and you live with an adult (private foster carer) who is not your parent or a close relative such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle. Your mum or dad will have agreed that this person can look after you if they are unable to take care of you themselves.
If you are living with a private foster carer, your parents and the private foster carer needs to tell the City of London Corporation's Children's Services that you are living with someone who is not your parent or close relative.
Email the team or telephone: 020 7323 3621
There are lots of reasons why children or young people are privately fostered. This could be because:
If you're privately fostered, the City of London Corporation needs to be made aware, as it has a legal duty to ensure that every child living in the City is well cared for and protected from harm. We need to know which children are being privately fostered so that we can check on their safety and wellbeing.Once we know that you are privately fostered, we will send a social worker to see you in the private carer’s home to make sure that you are safe, well, and happy living with your foster carers.
The social worker will:
Afterwards they will visit every three months but you can ask to see the social worker at any time if you have something you want to talk about.
If you or your social worker are not happy with the arrangement, and there are concerns that you are not safe or being properly looked after, we have the power to end the arrangement.
Remember: Your parents or close relatives are still legally responsible for you while you are living with private foster carers. This means that they should still be involved in all the important decisions about your life.
Private foster carers should look after you as if you were their own child. They must do all the everyday things for you that parents do for their own children such as:
Your parents will be able to help your private foster carers understand the things that are important to you by talking with them.
Your private foster carer cannot:
If you need serious medical treatment, your own parents have to agree to this, unless it is an emergency and your parents cannot be contacted quickly enough.
Sometimes you might feel sad or unhappy about being privately fostered.
Children and young people who live away from home often miss their parents and friends. However, if you have a problem, or are not happy where you are living, talk to your social worker about your concerns. They will be able to answer most of your questions straight away or can find out the answers for you.
Don't worry if you find it hard to talk to your social worker about the things that are worrying you. The most important thing is that you have someone you trust that you to can talk to. You may find it easier to talk to someone you see every day, like a teacher.
There are also a number of national organisations that can give you support and advice. You can find these on the City of London Corporation's FYi Directory.
The City of London Corporation has a legal duty to ensure that children and young people in private fostering are well cared for and safeguarded from harm. Our responsibilities include:
By monitoring and supervising private fostering placements, we can help to safeguard children who may be at risk of abuse or neglect.
The City of London Corporation's Children and Families Team should be notified of all private fostering arrangements in the City by contacting 020 7332 3621 or email the team.
Privately fostered children are safeguarded by legislation set out in Part 9 of the Children Act 1989; the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005; and Section 44 of the Children Act 2004 effective 1 July 2005. Standards of care and management for private fostering arrangements are set out in the National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering (2005).
It is essential that the City of London Corporation's Children and Families Team is aware of such arrangements so that they can safeguard and promote the welfare of potentially vulnerable children.
Ideally, notification of a private fostering agreement should come from the carer or parent, although professionals, such as teachers and GPs, can play an important role as they are often aware of the situation.
You can find out more about private fostering from the British Association of Adoption and Fostering.