A privately fostered child is a child under 16 (or 18 if disabled) who is cared for by an adult who is not a parent or close relative where the child is to be cared for in that home for 28 days or more. Close relative is defined as "a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent". A child who is Looked After by a local authority or placed in a children's home, hospital or school is excluded from the definition. In a private fostering arrangement, the parent still holds Parental Responsibility and agrees the arrangement with the private foster carer.
A child in relation to whom the local authority receives notification from the prospective adopters that they intend to apply to the Court to adopt may have the status of a privately fostered child. The requirement to notify the local authority relates only to children who have not been placed for adoption by an adoption agency. On receiving the notification, the local authority for the area where the prospective adopters live becomes responsible for supervising the child's welfare pending the adoption and providing the Court with a report.