What Private Fostering Means For Us

You need to let us know if your child is receiving private fostering in Bournemouth or Dorset

We have a duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all children in our area, as laid out by The Children's Act 1989. This means that we need to know of any situation where someone other than a relative cares for children.

By law, you must tell us about any private fostering situations in Bournemouth and Dorset. We need to know because private fostering arrangements that remain hidden can leave some children vulnerable. If we know, we can offer a range of support for both private foster carers and parents.

What you need to do

If you’re involved in, or know of a  private fostering arrangement, you need to contact children’s services within the following timescales:

  • If the child is not yet living with the private foster carer, children’s services should be informed six weeks beforehand.
  • If the child is moving in less than six weeks or is already living with private foster carers, children's services should be informed immediately. 

What we need to do

We will work together with the child, the parents and the private foster carers to make sure that the best possible arrangements are in place.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Listening to the child's wishes and feelings.
  • Arranging for a social worker to visit the private foster carers and the child.
  • Assessing the suitability of the private fostering arrangement.
  • Making sure that the child's cultural, linguistic and religious needs are being met.
  • Offering advice and support to the child, their parent(s) and private foster carers.

If we think that the arrangement isn’t working, we’ll work with you to safeguard the child's welfare. This usually involves providing support to the carers and parents.