BRADFORD Council is asking parents, carers and professionals to be aware of private fostering arrangements and make sure that it is properly reported.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way in which some families care for children and young people. Some families may have entered in to what is known as a private fostering arrangement without realising what action they need to take.

The law states that a private fostering arrangement happens when:

• If a person is caring for somebody else's child and is not a close relative of the child. A close relative is a legal guardian, grandparent, uncle, auntie, brother or sister.

• Where the arrangement is expected to last more than 28 days.

• Where the child or young person is under the age of 16, or 18 if the young person has a disability.

The Council needs to know about children and young people in these types of arrangements as they are potentially vulnerable as they are not living with their parents.

The law around private fostering was strengthened following the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report. Victoria Climbie was a child who was abused and murdered after being placed with her father's great aunt.

This arrangement would have been considered as private fostering.

Private fostering is significantly under reported in the UK. The Council is asking that people report it if they believe they may be in a private fostering arrangement so they can assess and identify any support these children may need.

Action people should take includes:

Parents and carers must let the Council know if they are setting up a private fostering arrangement six weeks in advance, or as soon as possible if arrangements are made in an emergency. Parents retain parental responsibility for the child or young person, including financial responsibility, so they must ensure the arrangement is suitable and that the carer has all the information they need to care for the child.

Private foster carers must contact the Council six weeks in advance, or as soon as possible if arrangements are made in an emergency. This will enable essential welfare checks to take place to make sure that the child or young person receives the right support.

Young people if you are a young person and you think you may be in a private fostering arrangement, you can contact children’s services for help and advice.

Teachers, health and other professionals must contact the Council about a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention if they don’t think the arrangement has been or will be reported.

Members of the public should contact the Council if they are aware or suspect that a child is living in a private fostering arrangement that hasn’t been reported to the Council.

Children’s services can advise anyone who has a concern about private fostering about what they need to do.

To report a private fostering arrangement contact Bradford children’s services on 01274 435600 or email

For more information visit and search private fostering.

Councillor Adrian Farley, portfolio holder for children and families, said: “ The safety of our children is paramount.

"We want to raise awareness about private fostering so that everyone knows what it means and what they need to do. People can sometimes look after a child or young person without realising that it is a private fostering arrangement and that they have a legal duty to contact the Council. It is really important that people do let us know if they are privately fostering a child. This is all about making sure that children and young people are safe and their needs are being met.”