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Information and advice for young people in Suffolk


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Private fostering

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Have you been staying with a friend’s family, or with someone other than your parent/close relatives? If so, you might be living in a 'private fostering' arrangement.

Private fostering is when a young person under the age of 16 (or under 18 with a disability), lives with and is looked after by someone other than their parents or ‘close relatives’. (Close relatives include step-parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles).

This arrangement is made between your parent and the other adult you are living with, but your views and opinions must also be taken into account. This adult becomes your ‘private fosterer’ after you have been living with them for more than 28 days.

Examples of private fostering include:

  • Living with another family for your education or healthcare
  • Living with a friend’s family because you don’t get on with your own family
  • Living with the family of your boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Living with a friend’s family because your parents are unable to care for you, due to working away/working long hours, illness, or other reasons
  • Living with another family because your parents have separated or divorced

If you think you might be in this situation, Suffolk County Council need to know about it so that they can make sure you are being properly cared for.

You can call 01473 265025 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri) to let Suffolk County Council know if you think you are being privately fostered.

A social worker from the council will then visit you to check you are okay and happy with your new carer.

Your private foster carer should look after you as if you were their own child – they should give you regular meals, clean clothes, and make sure you go to school. To learn more about what you should expect from your private foster carer, have a look at

If you don’t feel happy or safe where you are living, you must let someone know. If you don’t want to talk about it with your parent or carer, you could talk to another adult you trust, like a teacher, tutor or doctor.

You can also call 0808 800 4005 to talk to someone from social services at Suffolk County Council. This line is free to call, and is open 24 hours 7 days a week, so you can call whatever the time.

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