Private Fostering

What is Private Fostering?

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) 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. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/affinity).

There is a duty on the part of parents and prospective carers entering into private fostering arrangements to notify their local authority. This is in order to safeguard and protect the child’s welfare as well as ensuring the child, carer and parent are receiving appropriate support and help.

Local authorities have a legal duty to safeguard the well being of privately fostered children. Once notified Children’s Social Care will visit the child and carer and undertake an assessment of the placement and offer support as appropriate.

By law parents and carers must notify the local authority of private fostering arrangements, however this rarely happens. If you become aware that a child or young person is being privately fostered you should inform the carer/parent of the requirement to notify Reading Children’s Social Care via the Children's Single Point of Access.  If you are planning for your child to be privately fostered or you are privately fostering a child, you should notify Reading Children’s Social Care via the Children's Single Point of Access.

Typical examples of private fostering arrangements
  • A teenager living with a friend’s family because they don’t get on with their own family or due to other family circumstances
  • Children staying with another family because of a family crisis such as parents’ ill health or parent’s separation
  • Children sent to this country, for education or health care, by parents who live overseas
  • Children living with a friend’s family because their parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult to use ordinary day care or after-school care
  • A child from overseas staying with a host family while attending a language school
  • Students at boarding school who stay with a host family during holidays
  • Forces families where children stay with another family while their parents are deployed

For further information, please see our one page Private Fostering Factsheet on the right of this page.  The Reading Borough Council Private Fostering Guide is also attached.

Contact details:

To notify Reading Borough Council of a private fostering arrangement or to discuss a potential private fostering arrangement, please contact the Children's Single Point of Access on 0118 937 3641.

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