Information for families in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Private Fostering

Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if they are disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer for 28 days or more. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or marriage).

Typical examples of private fostering arrangements

  • Children sent to this country, for education or health care, by parents who live overseas
  • A teenager living with a friend’s family because they don’t get on with their own family or due to other family circumstances
  • Children living with a friend’s family because their parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult to use ordinary day care or after-school care
  • Children staying with another family because of a family crisis such as parents’ ill health or parent’s separation
  • A child from overseas staying with a host family while attending a language school
  • Students at boarding school who stay with a host family during holidays
  • Forces families where children stay with another family while their parents are deployed

Are you caring for someone else’s child?

If you are caring for a child on a full time basis and you are not the child’s parent or close relative you may be viewed as a private foster carer.

Is your child living with someone else?

If your child is living with someone else on a full time basis and is not living with a relative or someone who has parental responsibility, he or she may be considered to be privately fostered.

If you believe you are private fostering please contact the BCP Council Private Fostering Team.  For more information please the information on the Pan Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership website   

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