Private Fostering

Private fostering is the term used to describe the situation where a child aged under 16 (or under 18 if disabled) is cared for, and supplied with accommodation, by an adult who is not a relative (for example, a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle), for 28 days or more, by private arrangement between parent and carer.

This is different from the care of children by local councils through approved foster carers. A privately fostered child is not looked after by the local council under the Children Act 1989, but local councils can provide further information about private fostering. Private foster placements are normally arranged by a birth parent. Private foster carers do not hold parental responsibility.

Private fostering can involve children sent to the UK for education or health care by parents living overseas, children living with a friend’s family as a result of separation or divorce, teenagers living with the family of a boyfriend or girlfriend, or children whose parents’ lifestyle involves unsociable hours which makes it difficult for them to use ordinary day care or after school care.

Rules governing private fostering

Privately fostered children are safeguarded by the Children Act 1989 (Part IX) and associated regulations.

Private foster carers must:

Birth parents must:

The local council must:

Local councils are not always notified about private fostering arrangements, despite this being an offence under the Children Act 1989. When they are notified, it is often after the fostering has started. This is a problem as privately fostered children are a particularly vulnerable group and need the safeguards provided through the Children Act and associated regulations.


In relation to private fostering arrangements and provision of accommodation with private individuals, colleges would only be involved in arranging private fostering if they arrange placements for under 16s which last for more than 28 days. Under the Children Act 2004 a private college may also have a duty to report to children services if it becomes aware that a student seems to be suffering at the hands of an individual providing private accommodation or fostering.

Hosts International provides suitable homestays that are willing to become private foster carers for Under 16 year old students for more than 28 days. The company is experienced in processing all the documents required for the procedure, and our staff offer informed guideline to the student, parents, agent, school/college and homestay.

Template documents for all the required processes can be provided on request. Please contact to speak to a trained member of our staff for any questions on this special service we offer.

Hosts International meets the standards for registration with the British Council as a provider of homestay, private home and independent self-catering accommodation for adults and under-18s for accredited providers in the UK.
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