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Private fostering

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Private fostering - ' Somebody else's child - everyone's responsibility '

Private fostering is an arrangement where a parent, or someone with parental responsibility for a child, arranges for their child or children to live with a carer who is not the child's guardian or close relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or step parent), for 28 days or more.  Privately fostered children can be up to the age of 16 years (or 18 if disabled) and are looked after on a full time basis.

A private fostering arrangement might be put in place for example when:            
  • A child / young person’s parents work or study long and / or anti-social hours
  • A child / young person is sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents from overseas.
  • A child or young person lives with a friend's family as a result of parental separation, divorce or difficulties at home
  • A teenager lives with their partner's family

Sometimes parents don’t realize that the arrangements they have made for their child or children are private fostering arrangements. It is important to think about this and let the local authority know.  The law says that in these arrangements the local authority has a duty to ensure the child is safe and well cared for. 


There are different rules about when you must notify the local authority and what you need to do if you are a private foster carer, or a parent putting your child into private fostering.   You can read much more about what you need to do in the Documents section.  There is a guide for parents, one for carers and one for professionals who need to know more about private fostering.  There is also a quick guide attached for more general interest.

You can contact us on 0113 222 4403.

If you are a professional person involved with a child and their family please contact us on 0113 376 0336.

Frequently asked questions

Who pays for care of the child?

Financial responsibility for the child remains with the parent. The parent should arrange to pay for the upkeep of the child; any financial arrangements should be agreed between the parent and the carer. The Council has no responsibility for financially supporting private fostering arrangements.

If I need to notify the local authority about a private fostering arrangement, what do I do?

If you are a member of the public please contact us on 0113 222 4403.

If you are a professional person involved with a child and their family please contact us on 0113 3760336.

What do I need to do if I need advice or more information on private fostering?

You can contact the Private Fostering Service (Leeds City Council) on 0113 2474654 ​