Foster carers provide children and young people who are unable to live within their own families a home. Fostering is a family task and offers children stability, security and care. For some children this can be their first experience of positive family life.

Fostering can be complex and challenging but also extremely rewarding. As a foster carer you would support and care for a child or children within your own home. The length of time a child stays with you will depend on their own particular needs and circumstances. Along with others, you may work with children, young people and their families to enable the child to return home or help them to move on to a permanent family.

We are in urgent need of foster carers who can provide a safe, loving and stable family life for vulnerable children and young people in need of a home.

We have a particular need for carers who can provide care for:

  • Children over the age of 10
  • Sibling groups so we can keep brothers and sisters together
  • Children who need cared for on a permanent basis because they cannot return home to their birth families

If you choose to foster with us you will help children stay in their local community and maintain better links with their families, friends and school.

We offer excellent support, training and opportunities; some of our carers have fostered with us for as long as 30 years.

Why children need foster care

The vast majority of children and young people who need foster care have become 'looked after’ for care and protection reasons. Some will have experienced neglect or abuse in various forms within their own families.

What do foster carers do?

Foster carers provide safe, nurturing homes for children and young people. They work as part of a team around the child including social work, health and education or with any other relevant professionals. They also:

  • Offer physical and emotional care to a child
  • Meet the individual needs of any child in their care
  • Work closely with professionals and other agencies involved in the child’s life to achieve the best possible outcomes for the child
  • Support the children and young people to maintain links with their families
  • Attend meetings or Children’s Hearings in connection with the child
  • Help the child express their wishes or feelings

Could you be a foster carer?

If you live in the Falkirk Council area or nearby and want to make a difference to a child’s life, yes. There are a few mandatory requirements. You must:

  • Be 21 or over – there is no upper age limit for foster carers. What matters is you are fit and able to care for any child or young person you are approved to look after
  • Have a spare bedroom
  • Be a British Citizen or have permanent leave to remain
  • Be patient, understanding, warm and nurturing
  • Not be listed as unsuitable to work with children

We welcome applications from:

  • All ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds
  • 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

Becoming a foster carer

As you’d expect, our assessment process is thorough so usually takes several months.

If you enquire about becoming a foster carer, we will contact you when we receive your initial enquiry which will include taking some basic details and arranging for one of our team to visit you. This initial visit helps us get to know you better – and you us – and talk to you more about the fostering journey.

You will be invited to attend our training and preparation groups. These sessions give you the chance to learn more about the fostering process, to hear from existing foster carers and help you to understand what it means to be a foster carer.

You will be allocated your own social worker to begin your home study assessment. Your worker will meet with you and your family regularly and prepare a report on you.

Statutory checks with Disclosure Scotland, Health and the police will be carried out, and references will be sought, as we have a responsibility to ensure we place children with foster carers who can fully meet the needs of the child in their care.

Finally, the report outlining all of this is presented to our Fostering Panel who make a recommendation about your application to foster, based on your Social Worker’s assessment.

Fostering with us

We have a fantastic team of foster carers working with us who are fully trained, assessed, approved and supported to look after children.

We offer a comprehensive training programme and a competitive package of fees and allowances.

Carers looking after two children aged 11-18 could get between £25-35k a year, depending on experience.

Types of fostering

Foster carers are trained and approved to look after children for particular lengths of time. Here are some of the different types of fostering that might be of interest to you.

Emergency fostering

Emergency foster carers will need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of the night or day and have them stay for a few days or less. This type of fostering is unplanned and used at short notice, for example if a lone parent is taken into hospital and there is no other family member available to look after their child.

For a child this usually means that there are immediate concerns for their safety and wellbeing and they require to be moved from their home environment as quickly as possible while the care planning process establishes the best option for the child.

Interim fostering

This can mean anything from an overnight stay to a period of up to 2 years. Interim foster carers provide a temporary home for a child/children to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer term fostering placement or adoption arrangement can be made.

Long term fostering

Sometimes children will not be able to go back to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Long term fostering allows children to remain in a home where they feel secure, often while maintaining contact with their birth family. In Scotland, long term fostering specifically refers to a placement of longer than 24 months not secured by a permanence order.

Permanent fostering

This term is specifically used in Scotland and refers to a placement of any length secured by a permanence order and can last until the child reaches the age of 18. A permanence order essentially transfers parental rights about where the child lives to the local authority and can provide the child, local authority and their carer with legal security, and gives the child stability and the time for strong bonds and a sense of belonging to develop.

Short break/respite

This can cover a variety of different types of part time care. It is usually a placement which forms part of a planned series of short breaks. For a child this means that, because of special circumstances, it has been agreed they and their family will benefit from therapeutic services or periods of respite. Short break caring can include anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month. There are a growing number of schemes which help to prevent children or young people from coming into the care system by offering their families support before difficulties escalate to a point where the family can no longer manage. Arrangements are made to suit the needs of the family, and carers offer part time care to provide the children and their family with a break.