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Foster with Dorset Council

Dorset Council fostering service puts the children who need loving, local foster homes at the heart of everything we do. Our focus is on keeping local children close to their schools, friends and birth families.

Thanks to our local knowledge, good connections to essential services and 24/7 wrap around support, we’re best placed to find great foster carers for children and young people across Dorset.

Our aims

We want our children and young people to:

  • be safe wherever they are
  • enjoy positive relationships
  • know their personal strengths and qualities
  • feel that their voices are heard and listened to
  • be confident and successful learners who can succeed in life

Here are some of the other different types of foster care. 

Short-term foster carers look after children before they move to a longer-term family or return to their family home. The care and attention they give the children can help prepare them for their next move.

Long-term foster carers will look after children throughout their childhood or sometimes beyond under staying put arrangements. Foster carers will support children to keep in touch with the people and places that are important to them to maintain lifelong links and at every step be working towards independence. 

Parent and child foster carers offer a home to both parent and child, providing extra help and care to support parents to successfully care for their child.

Family and Friends or Connected Carers care for a child who they know or who is part of their family

Respite foster carers provide care for children over a short period of time for example at weekends or overnight during the week. Respite carers provide families and foster carers with a network of support. 

Specialist family carers are provided by the Harbour service for children on the edge of care and in care. Each foster carer will offer a home and support for young people with particularly complex needs. Specialist Family carers are carers who have been specifically chosen for their ability to provide this intensive and dedicated care.

Foster for adoption carers are carers who care for babies and young children where the plan may be for adoption or return to their birth family. 

Supported lodgings carers provides homes for young people age 18 to 25-year-olds who need a guiding hand as they move towards independence. 

We welcome applications from foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the needs of the children we look after. We welcome applications from people of all religions, sex, genders, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and marital status. 

Our foster carers come from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking for a new challenge or simply want to use your skills and experience to make a difference, we’d love to hear from you. 

I’m… 

New to fostering 
Returning to fostering
Looking to transfer
As the only fostering service dedicated entirely to serving the county of Dorset, we understand the local area better than anyone.  

We are committed to placing children and young people with local families. This is so that we can keep them in their current schools and close to their friends and birth families wherever possible. 
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 
This service offers therapeutic support to children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. This may be via the CAMHS social worker, psychologist, or other therapeutic specialists. Psychiatric input is available for more severe mental health difficulties. Specialist advice, consultation, and support is also offered directly to foster carers and fostering social workers by two psychologists attached to the Fostering Service on a part-time basis. 
Dorset Virtual School 
Dorset has a specialist team of workers from the ‘Virtual School’ who ensure that the particular needs of the looked after child are prioritised through Personal Education Plans (PEPs). Staff from the Virtual School ensure that looked after children’s readiness for learning is assessed, their progress monitored, and also that there is support where there is a need for accelerated progress to be made. 
Action for Children 
Action for Children provides the independent advocacy service and independent visitors for Dorset’s children in care. The advocates work with children and young people on a one to one basis to help them access their rights and express their point of view. An independent visitor is a trained volunteer who provides children and young people in care with friendship and support. 
Our foster carers get an extensive training and support package throughout their fostering journey that’s tailored to their needs. And once you’ve been approved as a carer with us, you’ll become part of a wider community of foster carers with access to support groups and online resources to support your growth. 

Read about training and support available
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Our focus at Dorset Council is to make sure that you’ve got all the information you need to help you decide if becoming a foster carer is the right path for you.
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We don’t need to tell you how rewarding being a foster carer is, or how challenging it can be – as you already know!
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If you’re considering transferring to Dorset Council, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Start your fostering journey with Dorset Council.
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Find out more about fostering with Dorset Council.
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Download your free information pack today to discover more about becoming a foster carer and making a difference to a child's life.

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