Private fostering - information for professionals
Private fostering is where a parent arranges for a child aged under 16 (or 18 where the child has disabilities) to be cared for by someone other than a close relative for 28 days or more. It does not apply where the child is placed by the Council, voluntary organisations, or as a result of certain court orders.
A close relative is classed as a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt (whether of full blood or half blood or by marriage) or step parent. Caring for someone else's child is not private fostering when the arrangement is made by the Local Authority (Children's Social Care), or when the person looking after a child is an approved foster carer.
For guidance see the Private Fostering 7 minute guide
Who are private foster carers?
Private foster carers can be from a child’s extended family such as a cousin or great aunt. They may also 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 the child.
More information can be found on the online procedures site.
What should I do if I identify a private fostering arrangement?
You should encourage parents/carers to notify Children's Social Care. If you feel Children's Social Care has not been made aware by parents/carers, then you should notify Children's Social Care yourself via Cheshire East Consultation Service (ChECS) on 0300 123 5012 (option 2).
Further information can be found on the Cheshire East Council Private Fostering pages and within the updated private fostering guidance. (PDF, 355KB).