West Berkshire Council

Private Fostering

Information about private fostering and how to inform the council of an arrangement

Private fostering occurs when a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) is cared for and provided with accommodation by an adult who is not a close relative (defined as a grandparent, sibling, step parent or a parent's sibling) for 28 days or more - by private arrangement between the parent and carer.

It is the responsibility of both the parent and the carer to inform their local council, at least six weeks before the arrangement begins. In emergency situations the notification should be made within 48 hours of the arrangement starting. The council is then required to monitor the arrangement and provide advice and support to the child, the carer and the child's parent(s) as necessary.

Under private fostering arrangements, parental responsibility remains with the child's parent(s) and it is important that all information and decisions that affect the child's welfare continue to be made and communicated through the parents.

The council's role is to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. This is done through regular visits to both the child and the carer, giving help and advice, liasing with the parent(s) and ensuring that any additional resources (such as education or health) are made available.

Private fostering situations could involve:

  • children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents living overseas
  • children living with a friend's family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • children whose parents study or work involves unsociable hours, which makes it difficult for them to use ordinary day or after school care

The Children Act makes it an offence not to notify the local council of private fostering arrangements.

If you are involved in or know of an existing private fostering arrangement that has yet to be notified then please fill in our online notification form, completing as many sections as you can.

Who To Contact

Contact details for West Berkshire Council's Family Placement Team

01635 503155