become a foster carer

How to become a foster carer

Becoming a foster carer

Our foster carers are a diverse group of people from all walks of life and come from all sorts of backgrounds. However, they do have one thing in common, and that's a passion for transforming the lives of some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people.

Becoming a foster carer is a big decision and there are lots of things to think about before deciding whether it’s right for you. Discover how to foster a child in 6 steps and start your journey towards helping transform the lives of some of Scotland's most vulnerable children and young people.

Fostering finance calculator

To learn how much you could earn through fostering, try our Financial calculator.

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Looking to find out more about fostering?

If you're thinking about fostering, then why not get in touch with our friendly fostering advisor Niki, who will be able to answer any questions you have about becoming a foster carer with FCA Scotland.

Get in touch today

foster carers and foster children

Step 1

You can register your interest in becoming a foster carer with us by calling us on 0141 646 1400 or completing our short enquiry form. One of our dedicated fostering advisors will get to know you and find out about your current situation. We will talk to you about how to go about fostering and answer any questions you may have.

Our team are happy to answer any questions you may have about fostering and about becoming a foster carer with FCA Scotland.


foster carer with Social worker support

Step 2
Home Visit

A fostering advisor will visit your home or we can arrange a virtual home visit via video call if you’d prefer.  At the home visit we will give you more information about fostering with FCA Scotland, the role of the foster carer and how we support our foster carers. You can also ask more specific questions such as how do you go about fostering with a disability, a part-time job or with birth children, for example.

We will also have a look around your home and see the bedroom you want use for fostering. Hopefully, by the end of the home visit, you should have a good idea if you think fostering is right for you. If you’re suitable to foster and are ready to start applying to be a foster parent, you’ll need to complete an application form. The application process will then begin.

Fostering assessment

Step 3
Fostering assessment

Once your application is been accepted, one of our social workers will be in touch to start your fostering assessment.

As part of the fostering assessment they’ll visit you between eight and ten times to gather information about you such as; your home, childhood, you family and children, current and previous relationships, health and, any skills and experience you have that will help you with fostering. This information will be put together in a report called a Form F.

Step 4
Preparation training

You’ll be invited to attend our fostering preparatory training course which will give you a full understanding of the fostering role and get you thinking about how you would react to some of the situations you may find yourself in when you become a foster carer with FCA Scotland.

Find out more

Foster Panel

Step 5
Fostering Panel

After your Form F assessment has been completed, we’ll present all your Form F information in report to a fostering panel which you will be invited to attend. The panel comprising of a group independent people from various related backgrounds review your Form F report. They may ask you some additional questions and will then make a recommendation on your suitability to foster.

This recommendation, together with your assessment report is reviewed by our agency decision maker, who will make the final decision about whether or not you can become a foster carer.

Learn more

foster family

Step 6
Foster with us

Once you have been approved, your fostering journey with us will begin! You are ready for your first foster child, and now you are approved our experienced placements officers will be in touch to get to know you and your family. We build strong relationships with all of our foster carers, so we can expertly match the needs of children and young people with our families.

We’ll send you all the information that we have on the child or young person to help you can decide whether you’d like to be put forward to care for the child.

Start your fostering journey

How long does the fostering process take?

From your initial enquiry to being an approved foster parent, the process can take between four and six months. While this may sound like a long time, the steps are there to ensure you've got everything you need and that you understand exactly what to expect when you foster for the first time.

You'll complete six stages in the process, with us here to guide you every step of the way. From your first training course to your Panel review, it's a thorough but exciting journey towards welcoming your first foster child into your home.

What are the foster care requirements?

What matters most to us is your dedication, commitment and passion for changing children's lives. Regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, marital status or disability, you're eligible to apply to be a foster parent. However there are a few must-haves:

  • You need to be 21, but there is no upper age limit to foster
  • You must have a spare bedroom, but you do not need to own your house
  • You must have a legal right to work in the UK
  • You'll need the time to be able to foster a child full-time, however there are some exceptions
  • You'll need a lot of patience, empathy and resilience

Are you thinking of fostering?

Download the FCA’s complete beginner’s guide to fostering a child. Find out more on how to foster a child and the process involved.

Download Guide

Other information about your fostering journey

Checks and references

During your fostering application process, we carry out a number of crucial and essential checks as well as references from people you might know personally or professionally.

Read more

Your first foster child

Before you start to foster you’ll be made aware of the young person’s history and why they need foster care, together with any specific needs or requirements. We’ll provide you with all the support you need.

Read more

Matching and referrals

We spend time getting to know our foster families which allows us to highlight their skills and experience to the local authority social worker, ensuring the right match and the better the outcomes for all.

Read more

What next?

Take a look at the application process, get in touch or read through our FAQs if you are still unsure if you 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.

Learn more about the fostering process.

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.

Find out more.

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.

More FAQs

Got some more questions?
Find out the answers here.

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Speak to our team

Whether you're ready to start your journey or just want
to chat to an expert, we're here to help.

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Can’t find what you’re looking for?

By Phone

Call a member of our friendly fostering team and they'll be able to answer all your questions.

0141 646 4805

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