Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 years (or 18 years if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not a close relative, guardian or someone with parental responsibility, for more than 28 days. This is made by private arrangement between the parent and the carer, without the involvement of the local authority. A close relative is defined as a step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage/affinity).
Studies show that local councils are often not being notified about private fostering arrangements, despite this being an offence under the Children Act 2004. This is a cause for concern, as privately fostered children, without the safeguards provided through the Children Act, are a particularly vulnerable group.
Further information can be located at: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/privatefostering