Private fostering is an 'arrangement by a parent for care of a child by another person'.

If your child is living with another family, or another family’s child is living with you, the law requires that our Children’s Social Care Referral and Assessment Team are told when:

  • it's planned for them to spend more than 28 days with friends or wider family
  • they end up spending more than 28 days in the care of friends or wider family

The law applies when children are:

  • under age 16 years old (or under 18 if they have a disability)
  • living with the parents of friends
  • living with a parent’s ex-partner
  • living with 'wider family members' such as adult cousins
  • living with friends of the family

Not all arrangements are considered private fostering. The law doesn’t apply to children in the care of:

  • grandparents
  • aunts and uncles
  • adult brothers or sisters
  • step parents

What our Children’s Social Care team do

We need to check each child is safe and well cared for when private fostering happens.

The law was introduced to ensure all children in such circumstances are seen and spoken to, and their welfare is checked to make sure they do not suffer abuse or neglect. We will also ensure that help and support is provided to the person(s) caring for the child and to the child’s parents.

When we're told about a private fostering arrangement a social worker will undertake an assessment. They will visit and speak with the child, the carers and the child’s parents to gather information. They make a decision about whether the arrangement is right for the child.

If the social worker has no concerns about the arrangement, they'll continue to visit at regular intervals to make sure everything is going well, offering support and guidance to the child, the carers and parents.

Parental rights and responsibilities

When a child lives in a private fostering arrangement, the child’s parents keep all legal rights and responsibilities. They are expected to continue to financially support their child. Parents should be:

  • involved in planning the child’s future
  • kept in touch about the child’s progress
  • involved in any decisions made about the child

Parents can end a private fostering arrangement at any point.

Private Fostering Statement of Purpose

The Private Fostering Statement of Purpose is designed as a written statement, which sets out our duties and functions in relation to private fostering and the ways in which these duties will be carried out.

Foster care

If you are interested foster care in York, please complete our online fostering enquiry form. Alternatively, you can complete our downloadable fostering enquiry form and email to us at

Further information is also availabe from:

Also see

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