The PF1 return is designed to collect information on the number of children in private fostering arrangements in England.

A privately fostered child is defined as one under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) that is cared for by someone other than a parent or close relative as defined in section 105 of the Children Act 1989. Private foster carers may be from an extended family, such as a cousin or great uncle. They may be a friend of the family, or other non-relative, or someone unknown who has advertised to offer to privately foster a child. A child is not privately fostered if the person caring for him or her has done so for fewer than 28 days and does not intend to do so for longer than that. Privately fostered children are a diverse and potentially vulnerable group. Groups of privately fostered children include children sent from abroad to stay with another family.

The PF1 return for 2011-12 covers notifications of private fostering arrangements in the year ending 31 March 2012, and the number of children looked after under private fostering arrangements at 31 March 2012.

PF1 data is submitted electronically by local authorities (LAs), using the Department's secure IT system - COLLECT. The PF1 form available in the associated resources on this page, is no longer used to submit information to the Department. However, LAs will find it useful to refer to use in compiling information needed for this collection.

Detailed guidance notes regarding the completion of the PF1 return, frequently asked questions and guidance on using the COLLECT system are all available in the associated resources on this page.