Who you should tell if the child does come to live with you

If you are a close relative of the child (step-parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or older sibling whether full or half) it will be a private arrangement between you and the child’s parents and you do not have to tell anyone that the child is living with you. But you may want to tell the child’s school, doctor and dentist - it is best to do it in writing.

But if you are not a close relative of the child and the child will be staying for more than 28 days this is called private fostering. You will need to tell Children’s Services as soon as possible. Children’s Services details will be in your phone book, or on the Local Authority website.

Once they are notified by you, social worker will visit your home within 7 days. The social worker will speak to you as well as the child’s parents, and the child, and make sure the child is safe and well cared for. The social worker must carry on visiting the child at regular intervals for as long as the child is privately fostered.

You may be able to get benefits for the child that is living with you (e.g. Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit). You should tell each different agency that administers the benefit or tax credit that the child is now living with you. Remember that you and the child’s parents cannot both get benefits for the child – so their income will be affected by any claim that you make. You should talk this through with them before you make a claim.

Your housing benefit claim may be affected by the child coming to live with you the new under occupancy rules (knows as the ‘Bedroom Tax’). So you may want to check how these rules may affect you once the child is living. See advice sheet: What happens to your benefits when your child goes into care or lives with someone else?  Their parents’ housing benefit may also be reduced if their child stops living with them.