What is fostering?

Fostering is a way of providing a family life for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents. This can be due to a variety of reasons from parental illness to abuse and neglect. Foster care gives children a secure, safe and stable environment where they can grow in confidence. It is different from adoption in that the child remains the legal responsibility of the Council and/or their birth parents.

Carers provide different types of fostering from providing a home for a few days, months or even years. Many of them will return to their families but others may need help for longer either through continued fostering, adoption or being helped to live independently.

“There is no other career quite like it and very few quite so rewarding.”

Karen, Fife foster carer for six years

Children that need foster care are all unique there is no ‘typical’ child, some have siblings, others have disabilities and, some have experienced abuse and neglect – others have not. What they all have in common though is the need for a secure, safe and stable home. You can read more about some of our children’s experiences in the ‘Our children’ section.

A career in fostering involves more than just looking after a child. As well as day-to-day care of the child, foster carers attend meetings, keep written records, promote contact with birth families and manage information that is confidential and sensitive.

Foster carers may have to help children come to terms with difficult or traumatic experiences. They support children in their education, look after their health and promote their social wellbeing.