Private Fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement between a parent and a carer. This arrangement does not involve the Council and the child is not in care.

It’s not private fostering if the person is already an approved foster carer.

Private fostering could be:

  • children having to live with a family friend after their parents have divorced
  • a young person staying with a friend’s family because of arguments at home
  • children sent to the UK from abroad for education or healthcare
  • looking after children of parents who work anti-social hours
  • children on extended holiday exchanges

More information is available in the LBS Private Fostering Statement of Purpose.

Why Children's Services need to know

Legally, Children's Services should be notified about any private fostering that is happening.

This should be as soon as arrangements are in place for the child to stay at least 28 consecutive days. Ideally notification should be given:

  • 6 weeks before fostering begins, or
  • within 48 hours in emergency situations

A notification should be made when:

  • a child leaves their home
  • who they will be staying with
  • where they will be staying

Notification should be made to Children’s First Contact Service on 020 8770 6001.

More information for children, professionals, parents and carers can be found on our Private Fostering Leaflets below or by sending an email to the Childrens First Contact Service (CFCS) at

What Children's Services will do

When Children's Services are told about a private fostering arrangement, one of the social workers will:

  • speak to the child’s parents, and
  • visit the private foster carer’s home to speak with them and the child

A Private fostering assessment will be completed.

They will also offer advice and support to the carer if needed.

If Children's Services don’t think the arrangement is suitable they'll take action to protect the child’s welfare.