Private Fostering

A ‘Privately Fostered’ child is a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) who is cared for and accommodated by someone other than a parent or close relative* for more than 28 days.

There are a variety of reasons why a parent may be unable to care for their own child on a short or long term basis and a private fostering arrangement can be a positive response from friends and the local community to a family in need of support. However, any child separated from their parents is potentially vulnerable and we all have responsibilities to ensure the alternative care they receive meets their welfare and safety needs.

*Close Relatives are Step Parents, Grandparents, Brothers/Sisters or Aunts/Uncles.

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What to do

It is a legal requirement for people who make arrangements for a child to be privately fostered to notify Calderdale Council via MAST (Multi-Agency Screening Team) on  01422 393336 of their intentions at least 6 weeks in advance, or in emergency cases, immediately after the child becomes Privately Fostered.

The Parents and the private foster carers are responsible for notifying the council.

Private foster carers should also notify the council of any changes in their own circumstances whilst they are caring for the child or young person.

Private foster carers also need to let us know when a child or young person leaves their care, giving the name and address of the person they are moving on to.

For more information, go to the Calderdale Council Website

What the council will do

It is Calderdale Council’s legal duty to make sure all private fostering arrangements are safe for the child or young person, but they can only do this if they are aware of the arrangement. Once informed of the arrangement it is the council’s job to check the suitability of private foster carers, to make regular visits to the child or young person and to ensure advice, help and support is available when needed.

For more information, go to the Calderdale Council Website

Information for professionals

Private foster carers are legally required to notify Calderdale Council but many still don’t know that they have to. This means the council is unable to make sure the child or young person’s welfare is safeguarded. Workers from all agencies need to help by ensuring they are proactive in identifying and notifying MAST of private fostering arrangements that they are aware of. If you know a child or young person is being privately fostered and you think the council is unaware please notify MAST (Multi-Agency Screening Team) on 393336 or support the parent/carer to do so.

Safeguard Guide No 1 Private Fostering

Private Fostering Leaflets (English); (Czech); (Polish); (Urdu)