Information for young people living away from their parents

So, what is private fostering?

Private fostering is when your family, like your mum or dad, has asked someone else to look after you in their home.

If you are under 16 (18 if you have a disability) and you are living with someone who is not closely related to you, and you intend to stay for more than 28 days, you are in a private fostering arrangement.

Private fostering is when you find another family to live with and you leave home to be with them. It is when you live with someone who is not your parents or immediate family.

Your immediate family includes your brother, sister, grandparents, aunty or uncle.

You might stay with an aunty or uncle who is not a biological sister or brother to your parents, cousins or friends of your family.

Why might I need to be privately fostered?

There are lots of reasons and here are a few examples:

  • Mum or dad have gone into hospital and you need to stay with another family
  • Mum or dad live in another country and send you to school in Southampton
  • Your parents have to work abroad and you live with another family who are not relatives
  • You are having difficulties at home with your parents or another member of the family and you go to stay with a family friend, neighbour or your friend's family.

Southampton Children’s Services have to be told when you are being privately fostered. This is so a social worker can visit you and make sure that you are safe and being well looked after.

The social worker will visit you regularly, to make sure you are happy where you are staying and to answer any questions you may have. They will support and give advice to your new carers.

Arrangements for you to return home would be agreed between you, your parents and your carers.

Things your private foster carer must do for you

  • Help you stay in touch with your family
  • Make sure you are safe
  • Help you follow your religion
  • Provide regular meals like breakfast, lunch and tea
  • Make sure you have clean clothes and a bed of your own
  • Make sure you go to school
  • Take you to the doctor or hospital if you are ill or injured
  • Take you to a dentist, for check-ups and any treatment you may need

Things a private foster carer must not do

  • Change your name
  • Change your school without your parent’s permission
  • Move you to another family without permission from your parents
  • Take you abroad without parent’s consent

If you have any questions about anything, you can call us or email to find out the answers:

Children's Resource Service
Tel: 023 8083 3004 – please ask for private fostering