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Private fostering

Safeguarding children who are being looked after privately by someone other than a close relative.

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a close relative. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer for 28 days or more.

Cousins, great aunts/uncles and family friends are not close relatives.

Close relatives are:

  • step-parents
  • grandparents
  • brothers and sisters
  • uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/civil partnership).

Private fostering and the law

If you live in Sandwell, the law says you must tell us if:

  • your child is being privately fostered
  • you are caring for someone else’s child as a private foster carer.

This is because we have a legal duty to make sure that all children being privately fostered are being cared for by a suitable carer in a suitable environment. 

We need to know that the child is safe and that their needs are being met. We can offer support services, welfare checks and advice on benefits and other financial help.

If you know of a private fostering arrangement, but are not the parent or the foster carer, it’s important that you tell us. Talk to the carer first if you feel you can and let them know that they need to tell us. Any information you give us will not be shared with the parent or carer.

There’s more information about private fostering on the Somebody else’s child website, run by CoramBAAF.