Private fostering

**Not a fostering scheme - cannot be applied for/recruited**

Many people look after other people’s children for a night or a weekend, but if a child under 16 is living with you for more than 28 days (or under 18 if they have a disability), you are privately fostering.

Somerset Council offer support and advice to people who are privately fostering, and to parents whose children are living with someone else. We can help with practical things and emotional support and we can help to rebuild relationships between children and their parents.

Children and young people become privately fostered for a variety of reasons:

  • their parents live overseas and they come to this country to attend school;
  • their parents are ill and cannot look after them;
  • their parents work away from home, possibly abroad;
  • they are teenagers who are estranged from their families.

If you think you might be privately fostering or your child is being privately fostered or you know someone who is, please let us know by contacting us by email or telephone.


Phone: 0300 123 2224

Alternatively you can fill in one of the notification forms and return to

Once we are notified, we will speak to the private foster carer, parent, child and school, to make sure the child is safe and their needs are being met. Plus we can offer support and advice to everyone involved, and mediate meetings with the child and their parent if necessary.

More information for parents, private foster carers, professionals and language schools can be found in the downloadable leaflets below:

Private Fostering Leaflet (English)

Private Fostering Leaflet (Polish)

Private Fostering Leaflet (Simplified Chinese)

Private Fostering Leaflet (Traditional Chinese)

Private Fostering Leaflet (Bengali)

Private Fostering Leaflet (Portuguese)

Notification Form for Parents or Third Party

Notification Form for Private Foster Carers

Notification Form for Residential Arrangements


Useful information and resources

You can also find helpful information about private fostering on the Coram BAAF website

With thanks to Devon Council for the re-use of their video.

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