1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boarding-Out System
BOARDING-OUT SYSTEM, in the English poor law, the boarding-out of orphan or deserted children with suitable foster-parents. The practice was first authorized in 1868, though for many years previously it had been carried out by some boards of guardians on their own initiative. Boarding-out is governed by two orders of the Local Government Board, issued in 1889. The first permits guardians to board-out children within their own union, except in the metropolis. The second governs the boarding-out of children in localities outside the union. The sum payable to the foster-parents is not to exceed 4s. per week for each child. The system has been much discussed by authorities on the administration of the poor law. It has been objected that few working-men with an average-sized family can afford to devote such an amount for the maintenance of each child, and that, therefore, boarded-out children are better off than the children of the independent (Fawcett, Pauperism). Working-class guardians, also, do not favour the system, being suspicious as to the disinterestedness of the foster-parents. On the other hand, it is argued that from the economic and educational point of view much better results are obtained by boarding-out children; they are given a natural life, and when they grow up they are without effort merged in the general population (Mackay, Hist. Eng. Poor Law). See also Poor Law.
The “boarding-out” of lunatics is, in Scotland, a regular part of the lunacy administration. It has also been successfully adopted in Belgium. (See Insanity.)