There are currently thousands of looked after children in Scotland, according to official reports from 2022. While the number of foster families in Scotland has improved quite a bit in recent years, there is still a lot of room for new foster carers to join the system. For anyone who is interested in joining a network of foster carers across Scotland and the rest of the UK, the following FAQs should be quite helpful.
What is a Foster Family?
A foster family consists of at least two members: a foster carer and a foster child who has been put under the adult’s care. The number of members in a foster family will be higher if there are other family members living in the same household. In most cases, a foster family consists of the foster carer, his/her partner, their own children, and their foster children.
What are the Responsibilities of a Foster Family?
Most responsibilities related to a foster child’s care and wellbeing will fall on the registered foster carer primarily. However, everyone else in the family is also expected to be cooperative, understanding, and loving towards the foster children they take in. As for the responsibilities themselves, they will differ depending on the child’s age, needs, background, etc.
The system’s focus is always on ensuring that each child finds a safe, healthy, and loving shelter at every foster home they must visit. It’s each foster care family’s responsibility to make sure their own homes can meet those criteria. Other than that, foster carers would also need to take care of the foster children’s nutritional, emotional, and medical needs, as required.
How Do You Become a Foster Carer?
As long as you meet the minimum requirements, you can apply via your local authority (LA) or through an independent fostering agency (IFA) near you. If you live in Aberdeen, or anywhere else in Scotland, visit fcascotland.co.uk to apply online. It is advisable to make sure that you do meet all the requirements as stated below, before applying.
- You should be at least 21 years old.
- You must be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United Kingdom.
- Your home must have a spare room prepared for the foster children to move in.
How Long Does the Assessment Process Take?
If your request is accepted, you will be scheduled for assessments next. It will be a multistep procedure which can take as long as six months to finish. During that time, various facets of your life and of those that live with you under the same roof will be checked. This may include, but is not limited to checking medical records, police records, financial records, home inspection reports, and more.
If the authorities find everything to be in line, you will be interviewed by a foster panel. If they approve of your ability to become a foster care provider, the agency will have the final say. All chosen foster care providers will start to receive training soon after.