Could you be a foster carer and help us support children, young people and families in times of need and when in crisis?

In some circumstances, it’s best that children and young people are looked after by someone else for a while and this is where you could help.

A foster carer is someone who looks after children on an emergency, temporary, long term, permanent, or emergency respite basis.

We are looking for people who want to care for all ages of children including babies, toddlers, primary and secondary aged children. In addition to this, we are looking for carers able to provide a supported care arrangement to our 16 plus young people.

Call us now on 01292 267675 or contact us.

Who can become a foster carer?

People from a variety of backgrounds and experiences can become foster carers. The main qualities you need are patience, understanding, empathy and a kind, nurturing approach to looking after vulnerable children and young people.

You do not need to come from any particular walk of life; we are looking for different kinds of foster carers to help children with different needs. Here are some examples of the types of people who currently foster children and young people in South Ayrshire:

  • People that have raised or are raising their own family
  • Those who don’t have children of their own but want to care for children on a temporary basis (they may have experience of children in other settings, for example caring for nieces and nephews, child minding, or working with children)
  • Single people
  • Couples including same sex couples
  • People from different ethnic backgrounds
  • Employed and unemployed carers.

View our FAQ section to find out more or contact us.

Assessment and preparation

When you express an interest in fostering and have had an initial visit from the social worker, you will be invited to attend preparation groups and provided there are no issues, you would progress to a full fostering assessment which should be completed within 6 months from your application. A social worker will visit you at home to carry out the assessment. Confidential enquiries will be made of your local social work department and you will be asked to provide three referees. All applicants need to have a medical examination and any health issues will need to be explored. Smoking and obesity are areas that also need to be explored. Under the current policy carers who smoke will not be offered placements of children under three years of age and this may be subject to review.

Anyone interested in applying to foster will be subject to a Disclosure (Scotland) check to find out if they have a criminal record and to check if they are on the list of people disqualified from working with children. A record of offences will need to be carefully looked into but, apart from some offences against children, will not necessarily rule you out from fostering.

At the end of your assessment, the social worker will present a full report to the agency's Adoption Panel who will consider your application and make a recommendation of your suitability to the agency decision maker. It is the role of the agency decision maker to consider whether or not to approve prospective foster carers and you would be notified in writing of his decision.

Fostering fees and allowances

Age range Foster carer fee Maintenance allowance Total weekly payment
0 to 10 years £181.65 £154.35 £336.00
11 to 15 years £181.65 £185.85 £367.00
16 to 18 years £181.65 £217.35 £399.00

Frequently asked questions

Can I still become a foster carer if I’m on benefits?

Yes. The Family Placement Team will offer you advice and guidance on this matter.

I have a criminal conviction; does this mean I won’t be able to become a foster carer?

Not necessarily. This would be considered at your initial enquiry stage. However, should you have any criminal convictions in relation to any vulnerable group (children/young people or adults) this would preclude you from being considered.

Why do children need to be looked after by the Council?

Children can be cared for by someone other than their family for many reasons for example:

  • Their parent(s) are unable to cope because of addiction or mental health needs
  • The children has suffered abuse or neglect.

How much information about the child will I receive before I foster them?

Your social worker and the child’s social worker will provide you with all the necessary information.

Do I have a choice in who I foster?

Yes. However, for the purposes of temporary and shared care fostering, your Family Placement Social worker would look to consider matching. You will always have the opportunity to say no, especially if you feel the needs of the child will not be met or if the match is not appropriate.

We also require emergency carers who are flexible both in terms of age and circumstances. These placements are short term in nature and for up to 7 days.

I already have a family – how is being a foster carer different to raising my own children?

Foster children require particular care because they may have experienced traumatic events and have unmet needs as a result. They may have additional support needs, such as, education or health and will require carers that can help them reach their potential.

Are the child’s birth parents involved in their care?

When you foster you are parenting on behalf of the child’s own parent(s). While the birth parents do not have day-to-day care of the child they continue to hold parental rights and responsibilities and they will still have a say in some things.

You will often help the child attend contact with parents’. You will be working in partnership with the child’s social worker and others involved in planning their future.

What help and support is available to foster carers?

There is help and support from your social worker. You will have access to a variety of training and have the opportunity to attend a monthly carers support group.

Are there qualifications in foster care?

Foster carers are expected to undertake core and mandatory training deemed appropriate to meet their own developmental needs and those of the child.

Will I be taxed on the money I get to foster a child?

You are required to register with the HMRC as self-employed.

Will I have to pay National Insurance on the money I receive?

You will be expected to pay National Insurance contributions as worked out by HMRC.

Will my benefits stop if I become a foster carer?

Your benefits could be affected but we can work with you to minimise the impact and make sure you’re making the most of the benefits you are entitled to claim.


If you would like to find out more about fostering, please contact:

Family Placement and Adoption Team

South Ayrshire Council
181 Whitletts Road

Tel: 01292 267675