Private fostering information for parents and guardians

Southampton Children’s Services has a legal duty to make sure that the welfare of all privately fostered children is safeguarded and promoted. We offer advice and support to parents, private foster carers, and the child who is privately fostered.

As a parent or guardian, there may be circumstances when you need to arrange for your child or children to live away from you for 28 days or more.

It is your responsibility to make sure the arrangements you make are safe and suitable for them. If the child or children are under 16 (18 if they have a disability) and not staying with the following close relatives, please notify us of the arrangement using the online form.

Stepparents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts are all classed as close relatives.

This is a temporary arrangement and you will still maintain your parental rights and responsibilities about important decisions affecting your children's lives. It is very important that you keep in touch with your child or children and the private foster carer during the placement.

What are some examples of private fostering?

Some examples of private fostering are situations you may not consider out of the ordinary, such as:

  • Children living with a friend’s family because of parents separating, divorce or arguments at home
  • Teenagers living with the family of a friend or partner
  • Children sent to this country for education or health care by parents overseas

Language school children or young people living with host families

When do I need to inform the council?

You are required by law to tell your local council about any private fostering arrangements either:

  • At least six weeks before the arrangement starts
  • Within 48 hours of the start of an emergency arrangement

If the arrangement has already started, please notify Southampton Children and Families Service immediately.

When it is agreed that the arrangement will end, it is the private foster carer’s responsibility to notify Children’s Services within 48 hours of the child leaving their care. You need to supply information about the child’s new address and carer’s details.

How to notify us

You will need to complete the online form:


Before you fill in this form

You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself a couple of minutes to fill in the form.

Notify us of a private fostering arrangement

What happens next?

When we are made aware of a private fostering arrangement, a social worker will visit the child or young person, the private foster carer, and the child’s parents. Relevant safeguarding checks will be carried out with the carers such as Disclosure and Barring Service checks for those 18 years and over who live at the property and/or visit the home on a regular basis. We will talk with you about an agreed plan, so that the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 are complied with during the child's stay. The social worker will need to complete a private fostering assessment.

If you are unsure about anything regarding your private fostering arrangement or have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch using the contact details below:

Children’s Resource Service (CRS) contact details


Telephone: 023 8083 3004

Where can I find more information?

We have a range of information for people involved in all levels of private fostering:

You can fill in our online form to find out more about private fostering:


Before you fill in this form

You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself a couple of minutes to fill in the form.

Request information about private fostering

Or contact us by:

Email: (Use the link or enter the subject line ‘Private fostering’).

Telephone: 020 8083 2802 (ask for ‘Private fostering’).

See also: CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy