Skip to main content

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person up to the age of 16 (or up to the age of 18 if they have a disability) is living with someone who is not a close relative for 28 days or more.

This might be a friend, a great aunt, a cousin or someone else known to the child.

Many parents who've made informal arrangements for friends or extended family to care for their child don't realise it's private fostering.

By law, parents and carers must notify us if they have a private fostering arrangement. This is to keep children safe and support families.

Examples of private fostering

A private fostering arrangement might be put in place for a child or young person when:

  • parents work or study long and/or anti-social hours
  • they are sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents from outside the UK
  • they live with a friend's family because of their parents' separation, divorce or other difficulties at home
  • a teenager lives with their partner's family

Download the private fostering leaflet (PDF).

Tell us about a private fostering arrangement

Call 01234 718718 or email adoptionandfostering@bedford.gov.uk to tell us about a private fostering arrangement.