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Luton Borough Council

Private fostering - are you looking after someone else’s child?


Are you caring for someone else’s child?

If you are looking after someone else’s child (under 16, or under 18 if they have a disability) for more than 28 days in a row; they are not a close relation, and you are not their legal guardian this is called private fostering.

Who is a close relation?

A close relation would be a grandparent, a brother, sister, uncle or aunt. They can be a full or half relation and could be related by marriage. Relatives also include step-parents. Does not include a parent’s unmarried partner or extended family members such as great aunts, great uncles or parent’s cousins.

Why would a child be privately fostered?

A child might be privately fostered when;

  • parents are abroad
  • parents working unsociable hours
  • there is a family crisis
  • they are a teenager living apart from parents
  • children are brought to the UK with a view to adoption
  • children are seeking asylum or are refugees

What is the Local Authorities responsibility?

To ensure children and young people in Luton are safe and being properly cared for. It’s important that you will receive the support you need in fostering for Luton and are not alone to face new challenges.

If you are a private foster carer, a social worker will visit you to ensure the child or young person is safe and well, they will also offer you help and support.

What do I need to do?

Tell us about the arrangement at least six weeks before the private fostering arrangement begins. If a child or young person arrives at short notice advise us within 48 hours of them arriving.

What does the parent need to do?

You must tell us if you have made a private arrangement with someone who is not a close relative to look after your child.

The local authority has a legal duty to ensure that children and young people in this situation are safe and properly cared for.

How do I get in touch with you?

If you are not sure whether you are a private foster carer or you need to let us know you are looking after someone else’s child, then please contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, (MASH). More information about our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, (MASH) .

Telephone: 01582 547653
Out of hours: 0300 3008123
Emergency: 999
Email: [email protected]

You will be treated sensitively and in confidence.

We all have a responsibility to protect children in our local community. If you believe a child or young person is being cared for under a private arrangement you must tell us.

Contact us

Should you wish to have this information in Urdu, Bengali or Polish please contact the fostering team via email [email protected]

If you have a query about fostering and would like to learn more, please contact the Fostering team between 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4.30pm Friday.

Fostering team
T: 01582 547633

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ