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23 February 2010, 05:17
Families in Dorset could be breaking the law if they agree to look after other peoples children.
It is called private fostering and a new survey claims one in ten youngsters in Dorset have been cared for by someone who isn't a close relative.
Gill Bishop is from Bournemouth Council's Fostering team.
She told Heart they need to be told about the arrangement to make sure children aren't at risk of abuse:
"We have currently got around 13 sets of arrangements we are assessing or supporting. That's much higher than this time last year, but know it's not enough. There are more children out there that we know nothing about yet.
"There will be some circumstances where our assessment is that it is not safe for that arrangement to continue, and then obviously we talk to the parents to make sure they make alternative plans for their child."
A special conference about private fostering is being held at Bournemouth Learning Centre in Ensbury Park on Friday 26th March. The idea is to help people understand the law and to let them know what assessments will be carried out to make sure children are safe.
If you know of any private fostering arrangements which you think the council don't know about, get in touch with Bournemouth's Fostering Team on 01202 458 000.