Private fostering is everyone’s business

People who are looking after a child who is not a close relative are being urged to let Leeds City Council know about the arrangement.

When child or young person is being looked after by someone who is not a close relative it is called ‘private fostering’. People in Leeds who are aware of such an arrangement are being reminded this week to let Leeds City Council know, to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. By informing the council, the private foster carer will also be able to access advice from the council’s private fostering experts.

Private fostering describes an arrangement when someone, who is not a close relative, cares for another person’s child, who is under 16 (or under 18 if they have a disability), for a consecutive 28 days or more. Although private fostering is arranged between the parent and the private foster carer - and not through the local authority or a fostering agency - it is important that both parties inform the council so the appropriate safeguarding checks can be carried out.

People who work with children are also being reminded of their responsibility to let the council know if they are aware of any private fostering arrangements.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services said:

“Everybody has a role in keeping our children safe – whether you are a teacher, youth worker, neighbour or you just chat to other parents at the school gate. If you hear about a child who you think may be privately fostered please let us know so we can ensure the child is being kept safe and is getting the support they need.

“Private foster carers may also be eligible for free advice and support, so it is in their best interests to let us know about any arrangements they have.

“Nobody knows exactly how many children are being privately fostered and we need everyone’s help to raise this issue. It is important that the council is made aware of these arrangements so we can carry out the appropriate assessments to make sure vulnerable children in our city are safe.”

Private fostering arrangements can occur for different reasons including:

• Children / young people whose parents work or study long and / or anti-social hours.

• Children / young people sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents from overseas.

• Children / young people living with a friend's family as a result of parental separation, divorce or difficulties at home.

• Teenagers living with their partner's family.

More information on private fostering can be found on Leeds City Council’s website www.leeds.gov.uk/foster4leeds/Pages/privatefostering.aspx

or by contacting Leeds City Council’s Duty and Advice Team on 0113 2224403 or privatefostering@leeds.gov.uk.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk