What is parental responsibility?

A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth.

A birth father usually has parental responsibility if he’s either:

  • married to the child’s mother
  • listed on the birth certificate

Civil partners

Same-sex partners will both have parental responsibility if they were civil partners at the time of the fertility treatment, eg donor insemination or fertility treatment.

For same-sex partners who aren’t civil partners, the 2nd parent can get parental responsibility by either:

  • applying for parental responsibility if a parental agreement was made
  • becoming a civil partner of the other parent and making a parental responsibility agreement or jointly registering the birth

Private Fostering Arrangements

A private fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made privately (that is to say without the involvement of a local authority) for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more.

Whilst the day to day care of the child can be delegated to the private foster carer, parental responsibility remains with the parent.