Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) lives with someone who is not a close relative (for example a grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, or step-parent) for 28 days or more. It's very difficult from the care of children formally provided by local councils through approved foster carers.
Privately fostered children and young people may:
- have parents living or working aboard
- be sent to the UK to study at state or language schools
- live with another family because they have problems at homebBe estranged from their own family
- be at independent schools and not returning home during school holidays.
Children who are on weekend or holiday visits do not count as being privately fostered.
It is the law that the Local Authority Children's Services know about all children and young people in Kent who are being privately fostered (or who are about to be). The Local Authority Children's Services have a duty both to make sure the child or young person is safe and that the private foster carer(s) has support (both financial and practical).
If you are:
- the parent(s) or carer(s) of the child being privately fostered
- the person privately fostering someone else's child
- a professional working with a child, young person or family
- a member of the public who notices suspected private fostering
you should tell the Local Authority Children's Services immediately by calling 03000 41 11 11.
Kent annual reports
On a yearly basis the KCC Integrated Children's Services produce a private fostering report which provides an overview of referrals, assessment and support of privately fostering children who were referred to Kent; alongside compliance with national minimum standards (including awareness raising) for the year.