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You are here:home > Living > Children's social care > Fostering > Private fostering

Private fostering

If you have made a private arrangement to look after someone else’s child or teenager on a full time basis, and you are not a relative, you are called a Private Foster Carer.

If you would like more information on private fostering or want to tell Southampton City Council about a private fostering arrangement, please complete the "Report private fostering arrangements" online form in the box on the right.

Somebody else's child - National Private Fostering Campaign banner

Our private fostering service was judged "Good" at our last Ofsted inspection in December 2010. A copy of the inspection report can be downloaded from the Ofsted website.

What is private fostering?

Private fostering situations can include:

  • children sent to this country for education or health care by parents over seas

  • children living with a friends family as a result of parents separating, divorce or arguments at home

  • teenagers living with the family of a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend.

The law requires you to tell your local council, and Southampton's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all 'privately fostered' children who live in their area.

Parents and private foster carers should contact Southampton Social Care for advice, and to discuss a range of support services. They will help you understand what you must do and what support is available to parents and carers. Every action counts when keeping our children safe.

More information on private fostering

The following fact sheets give you some more detailed information about private fostering.

The Private fostering - information for carers fact sheet contains information for those who are looking after a young person informally. It tells you what is expected of you and how to contact us for advice and assistance.

The Private fostering - information for professionals fact sheet contains information for professionals who have contact with families or individuals who may have an informal care arrangement.

The Do you live away from your parents? - information for young people fact sheet is a useful tool for professionals or carers to give information to the young people who have an informal care arrangement.

Ofsted has conducted some further inspections of local authority private fostering arrangements. Analysis of these has identified several ways in which arrangements for collecting and managing information about private fostering could be improved so that, nationally, we would have a better understanding of this area. Better information, better understanding.

If you would like this page or any of its attached forms or factsheets in a different format (e.g. Braille, tape or disc), or in a different language, then please contact us on 023 8083 3336 or fill in the online form at the top of this page.

If you would like to help us let others know what a private fostering arrangement is, then there are posters in various languages (see the downloadable documents below) that you are welcome to print out and distribute.

Downloadable documents

Contact information