You may be able to offer a home to a child or young person who cannot live with
their own family.
Children can be cared for by a foster family for weeks, months or for the rest of
their childhood, depending on their circumstances. You may also be able to offer
respite care at weekend or holidays.
Who can foster children and young people
We welcome applications from:
- people from any race or religion
- single people, or couples of any sexual orientation
- people who are in work or unemployed
- people with children of their own and people who don't have children of their own
How to become a foster carer
As you’d expect, our assessment process is thorough and usually takes about 6-12
If you apply to become a foster carer, here’s what will happen.
- Come along to one of our Open Information Evenings. You’ll meet our fostering team
and some of our carers and find out more about fostering with us.
- Complete and return an enquiry form. Once you’ve done this, we’ll assign a social
worker to you.
- We’ll visit you at home to meet you and your family. This initial interview helps
us get to know you better and assess if you’re suitable to continue to the next
part of our process.
- Attend up to four preparation groups. These sessions give you the chance to learn
more about the fostering process and help you to understand what it means to be
a foster carer.
- Complete our formal application form. This is the official start of the process
for you to become a foster carer.
- We’ll start our home study assessment. During this assessment, your social worker
will discuss all relevant aspects of your application to foster.
- Our Fostering Panel will consider your application. They’ll recommend whether you
can be a foster carer and suggest the specific age ranges, gender and how many children
you can foster at the same time.
- The Agency Decision Maker then makes the decision to approve you as foster carer
- Your own social worker will always give you the professional training and advice
you need when you’re applying to become a foster carer and when you are a foster
carer. You’ll also get paid for fostering a child or young person.
Why children may need foster care
Many children who need foster carers come from a difficult background. Their family
life has often been chaotic and foster care can be their first experience of a stable
routine with consistent rules and expectations.
Many children arrive in foster care scared and anxious. This can cause a variety
of behavioural issues such as tantrums, confrontational behaviour, withdrawal, running
away, self-harm, stealing and illnesses.
What being a foster carer means
Looking after children who are sad, distressed and confused is not the easiest thing
in the world, but the rewards can be incredible.
When a child or young person is
living in your home, you’ll be:
- offering physical and emotional care on our behalf
- meeting the individual needs of the child or children in your care
- working together with social workers and other agencies involved in the child's
- working with the child’s parents
- enabling the child to stay in contact with their parents
- attending meetings or Children's Hearings about the child in your care
- assessing the child's needs
- helping the child express their wishes or feelings
- making sure the child has medical and dental checks
Private fostering: what you need to know
If you think you might be, or are soon to be, a private foster carer, you must legally
tell us about this arrangement.
Private fostering is the term we use when a parent or guardian places a child who
is under school-leaving age in the care of someone else for more than 28 days. This
person is not a close relative or an officially approved foster carer.
This arrangement is private. But we are legally obliged to ensure the welfare of
every privately fostered child. To do this, we carry out checks to make sure the
child is safe.
We can offer support and advice to both the parents and carers of
a privately fostered child. The Scottish Government has issued updated guidance
on local authority responsibilities.