Private fostering

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.

Host family arrangements

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.

Informing the local authority

By law, we have a duty to make sure children are safe from harm.

If your child is privately fostered

If as a parent you are placing your child in what is considered to be a private fostering arrangement, by law, you need to:

  • Tell your local council at the earliest opportunity that you are intending to or have made a private fostering arrangement for your child(ren).
  • Notify your local council within 48 hours if this arrangement changes.

Read our FAQs for parents(pdf, 283KB)

If you are a private foster carer

As a private foster carer, by law, you need to:

  • Tell your local council at the earliest opportunity that you intend to or you are privately fostering a child.
  • Notify your local council within 48 hours of the child leaving your care, with the contact details of the person into whose care the child has moved.

Read our FAQs for private foster carers(pdf, 275KB)

To notify the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames of a private fostering arrangement you can either:

  • Contact the Single Point of Access, or
  • Visit or write to The Fostering Team, 42 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BW

Additional Information

Updated: 14 May 2018