What is foster care?

Fostering gives children and young people a stable and caring family home and environment when they are not able to live with their birth families anymore. 

There are many different reasons as to why children and young people need fostering. It could be due to a family breakdown or a family member becoming too ill to look after them. It could also be due to abuse or neglect and they are no longer safe. Our approved foster carers help to provide a safe place and the support that these children and young people need, whatever situation they have come from. At FCA Scotland we grow stronger and better together, helping to improve the experiences of foster carers and the children they look after.

What is the difference between a fostering agency and the local authority?

Although we work alongside the local authorities, there are four key differences between fostering with your local authority and fostering with independent fostering agencies like FCA Scotland:

  • The age of the children needing fostering through private agencies is generally higher than those available with local authorities.
  • Foster carer allowances with FCA Scotland  and other private fostering agencies are often higher than those of local authorities.
  • Levels of support vary between local authorities and private fostering agencies, with local authorities not offering the same level of support.
  • We offer a therapeutic approach that provides looked after children with the additional, intensive support they need to thrive called Team Parenting®

We work very closely with local authorities to find suitable foster carers for children within their care when they are unable to place a child with one of their own approved foster carers.

The role of the foster carer

Fostering is different to raising your own children, so it is imperative to really get an understanding of the fostering process, what is involved and what fostering can be like.

Foster carers provide children with every day care supporting all aspects of their health, education and well-being. It is also the foster carers duty to attend any meetings or appointments and keep records on behalf of the child. Often foster carers can help to facilitate contact with the child’s birth family.

There are many different kinds of foster care available, as every child’s or young person’s needs and requirements are completely different. Whether it is fostering for a longer period of a few years or just one night, we work with you and can help you decide what option is best for you and your family. When you decide to become a foster carer, part of the process involves being assessed, approved and trained by us and you will always be supported by an expert team of professionals. Although your fostering journey will be hugely rewarding, it won’t always be easy, which is why we’ll give you all the guidance and support you need to adjust to your life and make it successful.

Can you foster?

Find out all the essential requirements
you need to become a foster parent.

See fostering criteria

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The fostering journey

Making the decision to become a foster carer doesn’t happen overnight, but when you do choose to foster with us, you can rely on our support throughout the process.

You’ll complete six stages in your journey to becoming a foster carer. Depending on your circumstances, the process can take between four and six months. Although this may sound like a long time, it’s crucial that you’re given all the information you need, know exactly what to expect and understand what fostering means for your family.

See the process

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If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or would just like to learn more, then we’d love to hear from you.

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What’s the difference between fostering and adoption?

Fostering and adoption are different. There are times when a child or young person will need fostering for a couple of days, in other circumstances, foster care may be needed for a longer time period which can result in years of support.

When you foster a child or young person, their birth family or the local authority is still legally responsible for them. Usually, a child is in foster care until he or she turns 18.

Adoption is permanent. The court transfers all the parental rights for the child or young person to their new parents. In this instance the child can take the family surname and their new family is entirely responsible for their care. Another difference to note is that adoptive parents do not receive financial support like foster carers do.

foster children smiling

Fostering Allowances

You’ll receive a generous fostering payment for every week a child or young person is in your care, designed to reward your professionalism and commitment.

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Frequently asked questions

What is fostering?

Fostering is providing a safe and stable family home for a child or young person who can’t live with their birth family. There are many reasons why children need foster care.

Learn more about fostering.

What is the process of becoming a foster carer?

Applying to become a foster carer involves a number of steps and starts when you contact us.

Step 1 - Get in touch

We’ll have a chat to you talk to one of our friendly fostering advisors by calling 0141 646 4805 or filling in our enquiry form

Step 2 - We’ll visit you at home

We will arrange for one of our fostering advisors to visit you at home to talk to you in more detail and what to expect and how we will support you and find out a bit more about you.

Step 3 - Start your application

If you decide you’d like to apply to foster with us, we’ll start you application process.  The process involves filling in an application form and once accepted we will then undertake your fostering assessment. 

Step 4 - Fostering assessment

Following your application we’ll undertake a fostering assessment.  Your assessing social worker will visit you and your family at home a number of times to speak to you and collect information about you and your life.  It will help us to understand more about you.  In addition you will attend a preparatory training course to help you learn more about fostering and how to handle different situations.  The assessment process takes between four to six months.

Step 5 - Meet the panel

Once your assessment is finished you will go to a fostering panel who will make their recommendation.  The group is made up of people with fostering experience.  Your social worker will help you prepare and be there for support. Read our blog about panel to help you understand.

Once approved the real fostering journey starts.

Learn more about the fostering process.

Do I get any breaks or holidays while fostering?

We do offer respite your supervising social worker can speak to you about what it entails.

What kind of support will I receive?

We wouldn’t expect anyone to foster without the right support, so when you foster with FCA Scotland you are not alone.

Become a foster carer with us and you have access to:

  • Social Work Support– you will have a dedicated supervising social worker who is your main point of contact and will organise monthly meetings and support for you whenever you need it
  • 24 / 7 support
  • Training and development - We will prepare you to foster and keep developing your skills with an ongoing training programme featuring both face to face and online courses through our Learnative portal.
  • Events and activities – we host a range of events and activities for all the family to enjoy.
  • Online portal – Join our online community with our Carer Portal The Exchange just for FCA Scotland foster carers. It gives you free and instant access to information and advice right when you need it – day or night, 365 days a year. Plus access to a range of discounts to some major retailers and online stores.
  • Fostering Network membership - useful and practical benefits, including insurance, legal protection, medical and stress advice helplines, as well as a foster care magazine.

More FAQs

Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.

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Whether you're ready to start your journey or just want
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