Council urges private foster carers to get in touch

Published Monday, 12 July 2021

Residents are reminded during Private Fostering Week from 12 July that those caring for children who are not their own for more than 28 days must get in touch with the council, by law.

Private fostering means that someone who is not a parent or a close relative, or a registered approved foster carer, is looking after a child or young person under the age of 16, or under 18 if the child has a disability, for 28 days or more. The arrangement is made privately without the involvement of the local authority and may involve someone from the extended family, such as a cousin or great aunt.

A private foster carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child, or someone previously unknown to the child’s family who is willing to privately foster a child. The child must be cared for and accommodated by the private foster carer continuously, with the exception of occasional short breaks, or other exemptions under the Children Act 1989.  However, a person who is a close relative such as a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether full or half blood or by marriage) or step-parent will not be a private foster carer.

Councillor Kate Lymer, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “It is often at difficult times that private foster carers step in to provide urgent and welcome care for children who need their help. If this care is in place continuously for 28 days or more, it is important that they comply with the law and make sure they get the support they need. That is why we are sending out this important message to private foster carers and parents to get in touch if they have this type of private arrangement in place.”

As well as appealing to members of the public, the council is also asking school and health professionals to help spread the word. If you know about a private fostering arrangement, then you must contact the council’s children’s referral and assessment team by calling 0208 461 7373 / 7309 or emailing

More information is at