Who can foster
Who can apply to become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:
- You need a spare room
- You need to be over 21
- You need to have British Citizenship or permanent leave to stay in the UK
Do I need any special qualifications or experience to foster?
No, we will give you all the training you need together with ongoing development and support.
Do I need to have a spare room to foster?
Yes, you’ll need to have a spare bedroom to foster a child.
There are a number of different reasons why you need a spare bedroom in your home. Primarily it is part of the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards stating every child over the age of three should have their own bedroom. But not only this, there are many other factors such as the child’s safety, security and privacy to also consider.
A child needs their own bedroom to provide a sense of security and dedicated space to play or be creative without distraction.
Can a foster child share a bedroom?
No, every child and young person requires their own space, regardless of whether they’ve been raised in foster care.
A bedroom is a space in which children and young people can call theirs, giving them the much needed opportunity to play, discover, be imaginative and creative all without excessive disruptions. Some children who fostered may be troubled from previous experiences so providing a bedroom for them will help them to process events from their life and give them a place for time to reflect and think. Somewhere they can feel calm and relaxed.
What is the minimum age for becoming a foster carer?
As long as you’re over 21, fostering isn’t about your age – it’s about the energy and commitment that you bring to the role.
Is there a maximum age to foster?
There really is no maximum age limit for fostering with us and many of our foster carers continue to foster well into their 70s.
All we ask is that you’re still able to fulfill the more active side of fostering – such as the school run and outdoor activities – and that you can do so with enthusiasm and energy.
Can I still work and be a foster carer?
In some cases it is still possible for you to continue working on a part-time or flexible basis depending on your individual circumstances.
Ideally we ask for at least one foster carer to be available for fostering on a full-time basis, so that we can ensure that the child or young person in your care is being looked after in the best way possible. As a foster carer, you have responsibility for day-to-day tasks; the school run, be available during school holidays, attend medical appointments on behalf or with your child, attend training, review meetings. Should you have a problem on an odd occasion, your supervising social worker can help you make alternative arrangements.
I’m now retired, am I able to foster?
Yes absolutely. We look for potential foster carers who can dedicate their time and experience to supporting children and young people, and many people find that retirement gives them this opportunity.
I have small children, can I still foster?
It completely depends on your personal circumstances and whether you’re able to meet the needs of a child in care.
We work with children and young people who may need a lot of care and attention to help them develop and reach their full potential.
As part of the process to become a foster carer, we’ll provide you with lots of information about the role and what to expect, so you’re able to make an informed decision about whether fostering is right for you and your family.
Do I need to own my own home to foster?
No you don’t, if you live in rented accommodation you will need permission from your landlord.
Can I foster if I’m single?
Yes, you don’t have to be married or living with a partner to foster. In fact, being a solo foster parent can be an advantage in some cases where a child or young person can only be placed with a single male or female foster carer.
Can I foster if I’m gay?
Yes, your sexuality isn’t an issue when it comes to fostering. We welcome applications from people with a range of skills, knowledge and life experiences, regardless of their sexual orientation.
I have a disability and I’d like to become a foster carer. Is this possible?
Having a disability won’t necessarily stop you from becoming a foster carer and we consider all our applicants on an individual basis.
Can people from all religious groups become foster carers?
Your religion doesn’t affect your ability to foster and we welcome foster cares from all backgrounds.
We try and ensure that looked after children are placed with foster families who can meet their unique cultural and religious needs.
I have a criminal record, does this mean I can’t foster?
A criminal conviction won’t always prevent you from being a foster carer. It depends on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. We carry out police checks as part of our application process, but advise you are open and honest and declare any convictions early on in your fostering journey so we can discuss this with you.
If you’d like to foster but are concerned about your criminal record, then we always advise that you speak to one of our fostering advisors.
Can you foster if you have pets?
Yes of course, pets are part of your family too. Animals can help children to relax and settle into a new home, but we do need to make sure there is no risk involved. As part of your assessment, we’ll complete a pet questionnaire to help us determine whether your pet is safe to be around foster children. We cannot accept applications from anybody who has a banned breed in the UK, as part of the Dangerous Dog Act.
I can’t drive, does this mean I can’t foster?
You don’t have to drive but we would require you have a good transport network so you are able to fully meet the needs of the child. Enabling you to carry out duties such as the school run, attend appointments, review meetings, contact with birth parents and anything else required.
What type of company is FCA Scotland?
Foster Care Associates Scotland is part of one of the largest fostering agencies in the UK. We are part of the Polaris community and our core vision is to make a positive and lasting difference for looked after children and families. With the interests of children and young people at the heart of everything we do, we work closely with local authorities to provide caring, loving and stable fostering homes, but we always go the extra mile for our foster carers and children.
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.
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.
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.
What is the difference between fostering and adoption?
Fostering and adoption are completely different. Sometimes a child or young person may only need fostering for a few days, or care may be longer term lasting years. Adoption is always permanent, the court transfers all the parental rights for the child to their new parents, the child can take the family surname and their new family is entirely responsible for their care. One of the main differences is adoptive parents do not get financial support like foster carers do.
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.
What training will I receive as a foster carer?
We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation and are proactive in helping both our foster carers and employees to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
We are committed to providing high quality training that is accessible and relevant to all of our foster carers.
How does the fostering panel work?
The fostering panel will take place at a venue local to you. It takes the form of a meeting made up of about eight or nine independent panel members who have related experience. At the meeting they will sit down together to look through your Form F to discuss the type of fostering placement that’s right for you and make recommendations about the suitability to be approved as a foster carer with FCA Scotland. During panel you’ll be encouraged to share your views and expectations. Your assessing social worker will be there to support you so you won’t be on your own.
How long is the fostering panel?
Panels last an hour or so, you’ll be informed of their recommendation right away. Potential foster carers will be informed of the recommendation of panel on the day and this recommendation will inform the decision of the agency. Sometimes the panel can recommend that someone needs a bit more time to prepare to foster. If this happens we’ll provide help with further training and support.
What happens when I’m approved?
Upon approval you are legally able to care for a young person. Once you’ve signed a Foster Carer Agreement you’ll be allocated a supervising social worker who will take you forward. You are then ready to take your first child or young person.
When does my first placement start?
This depends on many factors, such as on your personal circumstances, how soon we can find a child or young person that’s right for you and vice versa making sure we doing the right thing for everyone involved. We get new referrals from local authorities every day, so you might not have to wait very long.
You’ll be in regular contact with your supervising social worker and they’ll discuss the needs of the young person before they’re placed with you, you will also have the opportunity to ask any questions. Your supervising social worker will organise wherever possible for you to meet the child before. We want to make this transition as comfortable and as smooth as possible for you and your family.