Private fostering

What is private fostering?

Private fostering is an arrangement made by the child or young person’s parent or guardian and not by Children’s Specialist Services. Private fostering is when a child or young person under the age of 16 (18 if the young person has a disability) is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who is not a close relative, guardian, grandparent, uncle, aunty, brother, sister and step-relatives. The Council has a duty to assess and monitor arrangements to make sure the child is safe and their needs are being met.

Watch this film about private fostering:



Examples of a private fostering arrangement may include:

  • Living with a family friend as a result of parents breaking up 
  • A child being sent from another country without its parents because of educational or health reasons and living with a family friend 
  • Teenagers living with their boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents 
  • Living with extended family (great aunt or uncle) whilst parents are still based in another country

What do I have to do?

As a parent:

You have a legal obligation to tell Bradford Council’s Children’s Services if you intend to privately foster your child. You should contact them 6 weeks before the arrangement is due to start. The telephone number and address is at the bottom of this page.

If someone other than a close relative cares for your child in an emergency and this arrangement is going to last 28 days or more you must inform Children’s Services within 48 hours of your child going to live with that private foster carer.

You should talk about your child’s needs and history with the proposed private foster carer – such as their health, education, eating habits, hobbies and interests, religion and any other information which will help the child be as comfortable as possible. It is best to give this information in writing.

You should inform Children’s Services if the person caring for your child changes address or your child returns home.

As a private foster carer:

If you know that you will be having a child to live with you under a private fostering arrangement you need to inform Bradford Council’s Children’s Services (see contact information) at least 6 weeks before the arrangement starts or within 48 hours if the arrangement is made in an emergency. If the child or young person already lives with you and they have not been informed, you must contact them immediately.

You must inform Children’s Service if you change address or there are any changes in circumstances affecting the privately fostered child.

It is an offence not to tell us about the arrangement.

Bradford Services to Children and Young People have a legal duty to ensure that all private fostering arrangements meet the needs of the child or young person.

What will Bradford Council’s Children’s Services do?

Bradford Services to Children and Young People will arrange to meet you to talk through the placement and make sure the best possible arrangements are in place for the child. They will also meet with the child or young person.

  • A Social Worker will arrange to visit every 4 weeks whilst the child or young person is placed. 
  • We will make the necessary checks to ensure that the home is suitable for the child you are looking after. 
  • We will offer advice and information about private fostering including details of support services that are available in your local area. 
  • We will help to ensure that the child’s ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic needs are met.

Contact us

If you have any questions or want to contact us regarding private fostering, please contact Bradford Children’s Services Initial Contact Point.

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Contact details

Children's Initial Contact Point
Sir Henry Mitchell House
4 Manchester Road

Phone : 01274 437500

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