West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council logo
Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

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 pdf icon see our private fostering information leaflet [328kb] and fill in our online notification form, completing as many sections as you can.


For more information about private fostering, please see the leaflets below:

- pdf icon Private Fostering Guide for Children [1Mb]

- pdf icon Private Fostering Guide for Parents [1Mb]

- pdf icon Private Fostering Guide for Carers [1Mb]

- pdf icon Private Fostering Guide for Professionals [1Mb]

- pdf icon Private Fostering National Minimum Standards [1Mb]

- pdf icon Private Fostering Arrangement Notification form [16kb]