Caring for Children

Provided by the Children's Services Department

FAQs for children and young people

What is private fostering?

Private Fostering is when you are under 16 years old and you live with an adult who looks after you instead of your Mum and Dad. The person who looks after you will not be related to you. They could be a neighbour or a friend. Your Mum or Dad will have agreed that the other person can look after you and may even be paying some money to help them.

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Why does it happen?

Your Mum and Dad might not be able to look after you for different reasons and have to ask another adult to do that for them.

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What happens to me?

Private fostering means you will be living in someone else's house. The law says that a social worker has to make sure that you are well looked after where you are living. A social worker is a person employed by the local council whose job it is to ensure that children and young people are properly cared for.

Your parents or your private foster carer are responsible for telling the council that you are living in someone else's house. Your teacher or your doctor may also do so.

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What will the social worker do?

They will come and see you where you live to make sure that you are happy living with the Private Foster Carer. They will talk to the person looking after you to see if they need any help. They will even get in touch with your Mum and Dad to make sure they know you are being well looked after.

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Can I still see my mum and dad?

Yes. Your Mum and Dad and the person looking after you will make arrangements for you to see your Mum and Dad and should consider what you want.

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What if I’m not happy?

If you are not happy where you are living you can always talk to a social worker about your worries. The social worker will try to help to make things better. If you become really unhappy with the arrangement and where you are living, the social worker will try to sort things out for you.

If you have any questions or need to ask anything about being a privately fostered child you can talk to your social worker. If you are not sure how to contact them Telephone: 0300 555 1384 or email

If you are unhappy there are also charities that you can contact:

Childline -a 24 hour helpline for children who are in trouble or at risk of being hurt or abused. Call free on 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website.

NSPCC - If you are having a bad time at home, or being bullied at school, or are worried or scared about something call free on 0800 800 5000 or visit the NSPCC website.

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