Private fostering is when parents make a special arrangement for their child to stay with someone else for more than 28 days consecutively.
If you are not a parent or close relative, and you are caring for a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if they are disabled), for 28 days or more, then you are privately fostering. The arrangement has not been made by the local authority, and you are not an approved foster carer.
Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts.
Staying longer than 14 days in a residential school during holiday time is also considered private fostering.
View our flowchart outlining private fostering(pdf, 22KB) if you are still unsure.
If you are privately fostering, or your child is privately fostered, then you must inform us.
If you are providing a home to child under the age of 16 whilst they attend a summer school, international school, or other academy for a period of more than 28 days, this is a private fostering arrangement.
Even if you have gone through an assessment process with a school or Host Family Agency the local authority still needs to be notified and appropriate checks undertaken.
View our Guide for host families(pdf, 256KB) for further information.
By law, we have a duty to make sure children are safe from harm.
If as a parent you are placing your child in what is considered to be a private fostering arrangement, by law, you need to:
Read our FAQs for parents(pdf, 283KB)
As a private foster carer, by law, you need to:
To notify the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames of a private fostering arrangement you can either:
Updated: 14 May 2018