Shared care

Shared care is a short break service for children and young people with disabilities. Shared care placements are provided within the shared carer’s home, allowing the child to be supported within a family setting, within their own community. Shared care is an assessed service and is managed by the Children and Families Disability Team.

Shared care is a flexible service which can be tailored to meet the needs of the families. Shared care could mean caring for a child within your home for a few hours after school or overnights.

Qualities required to become a shared carer include a patient and caring approach, and interest in working with children with disabilities and a regular commitment to supporting shared care placements.

Who can become a shared carer?

Most people can become a shared carer, there are no special qualifications. We are looking for ordinary families and individuals who can offer children with disabilities regular short breaks within the family home.

I'm interested, what happens now?

When enquires are received, a social worker, known as the Shared Care Resource Worker, will informally visit to discuss the scheme, to answer any questions, and to offer a general insight into the needs of children and young people with disabilities, and their families.

Should you wish to proceed with an application to become a shared carer, a period of assessment and training will follow. This will include the shared care worker meeting with you and, at times, other family members, over a period of several months. After the necessary checks have been carried out, a report is presented to a panel who will make the final decision.

Contact us now if you are interested.

Frequently asked questions

Are there are any qualifications needed?

There are no specific qualifications required but applicants should have an interest in working with children with disabilities. Ongoing support and training will be provided by the Children and Families Disability Team.

Why do we need shared carers?

Children and families affected by disability can experience additional pressures. Shared carers provide practical help and support to families, in the care of their children.

Can I still become a shared 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 shared 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.

I’m unemployed can I still be a shared carer?


Can I pick the person I want to support?

Yes. 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.

How much information about the child / young person will I receive before deciding?

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

How long will the shared care last?

The length of a placement varies depending on the needs of the individual but on average a placement can last for about 6 months.

What support do I get when I become a shared carer?

The child’s family is the best source of support and advice on the day-to-day care of the child. They are the experts and will be able to give advice in most cases. Additional advice can also be sought from professionals such as Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists. Our Shared Care Resource Worker will also be involved throughout each placement; shared carers receive on-going training and support.

Do I get paid for being a shared carer?

Shared carers are paid an allowance plus incidental expenses. There is no charge to the families using the scheme.

How long does it take to be approved?

The assessment process can take up to 12 months from the point of your initial enquiry.

Do I need to provide references?

Yes, references would be required and we will do checks on your background, which will include a Disclosure Scotland check and a medical.


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

Family Placement and Adoption Team

South Ayrshire Council
181 Whitletts Road

Tel: 01292 267675