Private fostering

Private fostering happens when a family friend or someone who is not a close relative of your family is caring for you.

By close relative, we mean a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt uncle or legal guardian.

If you aren't sure if you are living in a private fostering arrangement, take a look at these questions:

  • Are you living with someone who is not a close relative?
  • Are you under 16 years old (or under 18 if you are disabled)?
  • Are you going to be living somewhere for 28 days or more?

If you have answered yes to these questions, then you are living in what is called a private fostering arrangement. Your mum, dad or guardian may not know that this is private fostering arrangement.

Remember, if you are cared for by a close family member or person with parental responsibility, then that is not private fostering.

Why private fostering might happen

There are lots of reasons why your mum, dad or guardian might need to ask someone they trust to look after you. Remember that they would not usually do this without a great deal of thought.

The person who they ask to care for you might not be a close relative. It may be a friend of theirs or a distant relative who they know and is someone they trust.

It is very important that your mum, dad or guardian have talked to you about why they want someone to look after you, and how they are going to make sure you go to school and stay healthy.

Telling social services

Lancashire County Council's social services need to know if you are in a private fostering arrangement. This is because we want to help to keep you safe.

A parent, carer or anyone else who has been involved in making the arrangements should tell us if you are in a private fostering arrangement.

They can get in contact with us by calling us on 0300 123 6720 or emailing us at

They can read more information about private fostering on our website.

Help and advice

If you are part of a private fostering arrangement, and you want to ask us a question or get some advice, you can call us on 0300 123 6720.

If you are feeling unsafe

If you are feeling unsafe, worried or scared, please call our Emergency Duty Team on 0300 123 6722, or remember, you can always call the Police on 999.