Private Fostering

Private fostering is a private arrangement made by the child’s parent (or someone with parental responsibility) and;

  • the child is under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child is disabled)

  • the child is living with a carer who is not a close relative (defined as: grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt or stepparent by marriage)

  • the arrangement is expected to last for more than 28 days and on a full time basis

As Private Fostering is a private arrangement it can be hidden from agencies. Privately fostered children can be vulnerable as they may not see their families very often. It is therefore important that their needs are assessed and their situation monitored to safeguard their wellbeing. 

By law the Council must be informed about any private fostering arrangement to ensure safeguards are in place for the child and advice and support can be provided to the carer.

Many professionals who work with children and young people will come across private fostering situations and it is important that these are identified. Private foster carers and the parents of privately fostered children have a legal duty to notify Cumbria County Council about these arrangements, but this duty is not widely known, and so they are rarely reported.

It is vital that Children's Services are made aware of such arrangements so that they can safeguard the welfare of these potentially vulnerable children. Teachers, health and other professionals should notify the county council of a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention, where they are not satisfied that the arrangement has been or will be notified.

To notify Children's Services of a private fostering arrangement contact either the Cumberland Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727 or Westmorland and Furness Safeguarding Hub on 0300 373 2724 or for more information visit external link will open in a new window

Professionals working with children should refer to the CSCP Procedure for Children Living Away from Home with Other Families   

Private Fostering Resources 


Westmorland and Furness

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