Are you looking after someone else's child?

Published: Thursday, 5 July 2018

Are you looking after someone else’s child, or is your child living with someone else who isn’t a family member?

If one of these scenarios is familiar to you, this may be a Private Fostering arrangement and you need to make the Council aware.

Private fostering is allowed, however when it happens and a child (under 16 years old – or 18 and under if they child have a disability) is cared for someone who is not a relative for more than 28 days the council legally needs to be made aware to support both the child and the carers.

Common private fostering situations can include:

  • children living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • children whose parents’ study or work involves unsuitable hours that make it difficult for them to use ordinary day-care or after-school care
  • teenagers living with the family of a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend
  • children sent to the UK for education or health care by birth parents from overseas
  • asylum seeking and refugee children
  • children living with host families for a variety of reasons.

Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning Services, said:
"The council is appealing to people to contact them if they think a child in their community is being cared for by someone who is not a direct relative. Children’s Services is here to help, support and provide assistance.

“Residents may be looking after a child on behalf of their friend, or have a private long-term arrangement in place with the birth parents, and not realise that support is available. Local residents should also contact the council if they suspect families/children are living in outbuildings."

For further information or advice:

visit www.havering.gov.uk/privatefostering
call 01708 433 222
email tmash@havering.gov.uk