Private fostering

Private fostering is an arrangement that is made privately – that is to say not involving the local authority. A private foster carer is someone other than a parent or close relative who will care for a child for a period of 28 days or more in agreement with the child’s parent.

Private fostering only applies to a child or young person under the age of 16, or under 18, if disabled. Private foster carers may be from extended family – such as a cousin, great aunt, a friend or someone unknown to the child who is willing to privately foster.

The law requires that the local authority is notified of any existing or proposed private fostering arrangements. It is an offence not to do so, without reasonable cause. If you are a private foster carer or a parent and you are proposing to make a private foster arrangement you must tell us at least six weeks before the arrangement starts.

If it is an emergency arrangement, you must tell the local authority immediately. If a child is already living in a private fostering arrangement, you must notify the local authority immediately. If you are you looking after someone else’s child and it is for more than 28 days, you must notify the local authority.

If you wish to advise the London Borough of Bexley about a private fostering arrangement in advance or notify the local authority of an existing arrangement, then you can contact Children’s Social Care on 020 8303 7777.

CoramBAAF is an independent membership organisation for professionals, foster carers and adopters, and anyone else working with or looking after children in or from care, or adults who have been affected by adoption. It is a successor organisation to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). For more information about private fostering you can visit:

private fostering