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Foster care

Foster care is a way of offering children a safe, secure and nurturing place to stay while their family is unable to care for them. Unlike adoption, fostering is a temporary arrangement - on either a short or long term basis - and many children in foster care will return to their birth family. Some fostered children are eventually adopted, either by their foster carer or by another family.

Local authorities can only place children with foster carers who have been approved by an agency registered with the Care Inspectorate. Such agencies include local authorities, voluntary organisations and independent sector providers.

Thinking of becoming a foster carer?

Individuals interested in becoming a foster carer can apply directly to their local authority, or to a voluntary or independent provider registered with the Care Inspectorate. All adults are eligible, regardless of their sexual orientation, marriage or relationship status and age.

Further information about what's involved in becoming a foster carer can be found on the Could You Foster website, or the fostering pages of your local authority. Contact details for all Scottish local authorities can be found on the CoSLA website.

Support for foster carers

We understand the key role foster carers play in securing better outcomes for looked after children. So with our partners - such as local authorities and the Fostering Network - we are trying to increase the number of available foster carers, through recruitment of new families and better support for existing carers.

Fostering allowance

To cover the costs of caring for a child, foster carers receive a fostering allowance. Local authorities decide their own systems and level of payment, within parameters set out by the Scottish Government. Allowances vary according to the child's age and needs. In some cases a reward element or fee is also paid. Local authorities and fostering agencies should issue a leaflet explaining fees and allowances and should provide written guidance on tax and National Insurance liabilities.

Fosterline Scotland

Fosterline Scotland is a confidential helpline run by the Fostering Network, providing information and advice on a wide range of issues, from concerns about a child's future, changes in legislation and financial matters, to how to deal with allegations and complaints. They are also able to advise you on how to take the next step in dealing with any fostering issue and how to access other useful services and support.

To get in touch with Fosterline Scotland, phone 0141 204 1400 or e-mail at fosterlinescotland@fostering.net.