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Private Fostering

Is your child being looked after by somebody else? Are you looking after somebody else's child? Do you know of anyone who is looking after somebody else's child?

When a child is being looked after for 28 days or more by someone other than parents, uncles/aunts, grandparents or sister/brothers it becomes "private fostering". In these cases, you have a legal duty to let Salford City Council know about this.

Examples of private fostering can be the result of and include the following:

  • Children living with friends of the family on a long- term basis following family breakdown or a parent’s ill health.
  • Children whose parents work unsociable hours making it difficult for them to use day care and therefore the children live outside the family home.
  • Overseas students who are living with a carer or ‘host family’ for 28 days or more.
  • Children attending in boarding schools who live with another family during school holidays.
  • A teenager under the age of 16 living with friends or in the home of a boyfriend or girlfriend.

This applies when the child is up to 16 years of age (18 if the child has a disability).

What is not private fostering?

  • the carer is a close relative.
  • the Children Act (1989) defines a child’s ‘close relative’ as either a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle (birth parent’s brother), aunt (birth parent’s sister), or step-parent.
  • the carer has legal parental responsibility (for example, birth mother, adoptive parent);
  • the carer is an approved foster carer and the placement was made by social services;
  • the placement lasts for less than 28 days.

Regardless of the circumstances that led to this, it is called "private fostering" and you must contact Children Services at The Bridge.  All referrals and requests for support must be completed on the online referral form.   If you need to speak to someone The Bridge Partnership can be contacted on 0161 603 4500, Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm.  If you need to speak to someone outside these times, please contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0161 794 8888. If a child is in immediate danger of being harmed or is home alone, call the police on 999.  

For any other queries about private fostering please email:

What happens next?

A practitioner from Children's Social Care will carry out an assessment of the circumstances to see:

  • How the child is doing.
  • How you and the child feel about the arrangements.
  • How we can support adult relationships around the child.
  • Whether you are getting all resources you are entitled to.
  • Whether you would need support or advice in any area.

Salford Children's Services are here to support you in how you care for the child by providing advice and support to apply for services.

The aim is to support the arrangements and assist you in your duties of care towards the child.

Please contact the officer and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you do have any further queries there is a Private Fostering Officer that can be contacted on or telephone 0161 603 4350.

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