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Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a close relative. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer for 28 days or more.

Cousins, great aunts/uncles and family friends are not close relatives.

Close relatives are:

  • step-parents
  • grandparents
  • brothers and sisters
  • uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/civil partnership).

Private fostering and the law

If you live in Sandwell, the law says you must tell us if:

  • your child is being privately fostered
  • you are caring for someone else's child as a private foster carer.

This is because we have a legal duty to make sure that all children being privately fostered are being cared for by a suitable carer in a suitable environment. 

We need to know that the child is safe and that their needs are being met. We can offer support services, welfare checks and advice on benefits and other financial help.

If you know of a private fostering arrangement, but are not the parent or the foster carer, it's important that you tell us. Talk to the carer first if you feel you can and let them know that they need to tell us. Any information you give us will not be shared with the parent or carer.

Our aims and objectives

Read our private fostering statement of purpose to find out about what we want our service to achieve.

Contact us

Call the Children and Families Access Team on 0121 569 3100 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or  0121 569 2355 for emergency out of hours calls. 

Visit the Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board website for more information on how we make sure that children in Sandwell are safe.

Find out more

Read our leaflet:

Private fostering guide

There's more information about private fostering on the Somebody else's child website, run by CoramBAAF.

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Fostering: how to become a foster parent