Private fostering

If you look after somebody else’s child (or have arranged for your child to be looked after by somebody else) then this is known by law as private fostering.

This law does not apply if the child is being looked after by a close relative, such as their:

  • grandparent
  • step-parent with parental responsibility
  • brother or sister
  • aunt or uncle.

Read more about being a family and friends carer, including the qualities and abilities that makes someone a good carer.

What should I do if I am not a close relative?

If you are looking after a child or young person for more than 28 days, whether you are being paid or not, you legally need to notify the Single Point of Advice team.

Why do I have to tell you about a private arrangement?

The law says we must make sure that all privately fostered children in East Sussex are safe and supported. We work with you to check and assess how suitable the arrangements are for you and the child you are looking after and make sure they are getting the support they need.

Am I now the legal guardian of the child I am looking after?

The child’s parents still have full parental responsibility even though you are looking after them. Both you and the child’s parents should tell us before you agree to look after the child.

What will happen when I call you?

We will ask you for the following information:

  • the name of the child or young person
  • your details
  • your address
  • when the arrangement started or is due to start
  • reasons why the child is living with somebody else.

What happens next?

We will visit both you and the child or young person within seven working days and explain our role in more detail.

For more information and to tell us about a child or young person you are looking after please contact the Single Point of Advice team.

Transferring from an agency?

If you are currently working with a private fostering agency and are considering changing agency, please get in touch with our Fostering service. Our Recruitment and Assessment Team will contact you to talk through our simple transfer process (whether you have a child currently in placement with you or not).

Read more about Transferring from a fostering agency.