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1. Private Fostering

Private fostering occurs when a child or young person aged under 16 years, or 18 years if the child is disabled, is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who is not a parent, guardian or close relative. The term 'close relative' includes parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents.

It is a private arrangement made by a parent - or those with parental responsibility for a child - for someone to care for the child because they are unable to do so.

There are many reasons why a child may need to be in a private fostering arrangement for either a short period or longer term. These could include:

  • A child living with a friend of their family because of separation, divorce or arguments at home.
  • A teenager living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • A child living with a school friend's family because of family breakdown.
  • A child needing to be cared for because his/her parent has a long-term illness and is unable to look after the child.
  • A child being sent to this country by his/her parents who are living overseas, for education or healthcare reasons.