Fostering is caring for a 'looked after' child or children in your home. Stirling has a dedicated Fostering and Adoption Team that will support you throughout the process.
Fostering is a way of offering children and young people a safe, nurturing home while their own parents are unable to look after them. This is often a short term arrangement lasting a few weeks. However, arrangements can sometimes be in place longer term, depending on the circumstances.
We aim to return children to their parents or birth families as soon as possible, with support if it is needed. If this is not possible, foster carers would continue to care for the child until long-term plans are made. This may include adoption or a permanent fostering placement (sometimes children remain with the original foster carer).
Short-term foster care
If a child is unable to remain with their own families, they will need to be looked after and Social Work will find them somewhere safe to live. In these circumstances, we would plan for long-term foster carers to look after a child. We work with the short-term foster carer to either enable the child to return to their birth family or to settle them with either a long-term foster family or adoptive family.
Short-term foster care can last from a few days to several months, occasionally longer. If a child has spent a long time with a short-term foster care family and is unable to return to their birth family, carers may want to care for the child permanently.
We arrange short-term foster care for children of all ages. If a group of siblings are required to be looked after, we try our best to keep the sibling group together in foster care.
Long-term foster care
If a child is already accommodated and can't return to their birth family or if adoption isn't an option, we would seek that the child lives with long-term foster carers. Children who need long-term foster care vary in age. However, most permanent foster placements are children over the age of eight and tend to be in regular contact with their birth families.
Short break foster care
Short break fostering describes a few kinds of part-time care, ranging from every weekend to once a month. There are lots of reasons for the need for respite - it could be for:
- Families who do not have a strong support system, but can continue to bring up their own child if they know they can have a regular break once or twice a month.
- Existing foster carers who require breaks (for instance a family wedding), or regular planned breaks, such as respite during school holidays (for instance, so they can have a week away with their own children).
We also have short break carers who would look after a child with significant disabilities to have new experiences whilst their family have a break from their caring role. We provide full and ongoing training and support to disability respite carers to make sure they are confident in supporting the child with their disability. Usually, we match carers for children with disabilities with one or two families to provide once a month respite care over a weekend. We try to make sure that this arrangement is consistent. This lets the carer, the family and the child build a good relationships.
Enhanced foster care
Children who need enhanced foster care are usually older. They may have experienced varying degrees of neglect, abuse and disruption. It is likely some of the children may have lived in residential care. As a result, they can sometimes have a higher level of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. These children need carers who can manage challenging behaviour and who can provide a safe home environment with security, clear boundaries, advice and guidance.
After we have received your enquiry form, you will be contacted by a member of our Fostering and Adoption Team to discuss your enquiry over the phone. Following this we will arrange a home visit to discuss your enquiry further. Throughout the Pandemic, these home visits have been undertaken virtually. Following this, you will be invited to attend our skills to foster course.
Skills to Foster
Our Skills to Foster course is designed to enhance your existing caring and communications skills. We share our experiences and discuss the needs of children who have been accommodated, to understand how a child's life experiences may affect their future development. Our course promotes the additional needs of a child who has been looked after, which may differ from your own experiences.
Taking part in the Skills to Foster course gives both the applicant and our team the opportunity to decide if fostering is right for you and your family at this time. If both sides, you and the team, agree that you should move to the next stage, you will be.
You will be provided with a supervising social worker who will visit you at home on a regular basis to gain a greater understanding of you and your family's suitability to foster.
Our assessment process will involve the social worker assessing the skills and experience you would bring as a foster carer and also highlight any areas where you may need extra support or training. We try to make sure that the assessment is done within six months. We will then complete a report to share with the Fostering Panel. We will work with you to write the assessment and you can read the report (apart from third party information) before it is sent to the Fostering Panel. You will be invited to attend the Fostering Panel. The panel will make a recommendation on your suitability to be approved as a foster carer. The Panel's decision-maker will ultimately decide whether it is suitable for you to become a registered foster carer.
As a registered fostering agency, we are required to undertake several statutory checks on potential and current foster carers:
- Protection of Vulnerable Groups: All foster carers are required to undergo a Protection of Vulnerable Groups checks. The PVG check will highlight any criminal convictions you may have. We would really appreciate if you could let us know at the start of your application process if you have been convicted of a criminal offence. If you have a criminal conviction, it may be possible for you to become a foster carer - we will discuss your conviction(s) with you on a case by case basis. A PVG check is done every two years for all foster carers. Anyone over the age of sixteen who lives with you in your home with also need a PVG check done.
- Medical checks: We do not discriminate on the grounds of ill health or disability. However, we are aware that fostering can be demanding and a disability or serious health problem may impact on your ability to care for a child or young person. Any health problems or disability would be considered sympathetically by the agency's medical adviser and your social worker. However, this may lead to restrictions of the age group, number and type of child that you may be considered suitable to care for. We would ask that you have a full medical assessment, which would be done by your GP. Your local health visitor is also contacted to ask if they have any opinion on your ability to care for a child. This check is repeated every five years, or more regularly if required.
- Local Authority (Council) checks: We will check of our Council records. If you have lived in another Council area since the age of sixteen, we would also check their records.
- Employment history and employers reference: We will as you to tell us about your full employment history. As part of the assessment, we will ask for a written reference from your current, or most recent, employer.
- Previous partners, older and adult children: As part of our checks, if you have been in a previous long-term relationship, we will want to speak to your former partner. If any children were involved in the relationship, we will also contact them. If you have any concerns, please let us know.
- Personal References: You will be asked to give us a list of six potential referees from different stages of your life. We do ask that two of these reference are from relatives. Referees will be asked to give us a reference in writing. Some referees will also be visited, if it is safe to visit them.
Supervising Social Worker
Every foster carer will have their own supervising social worker. Our supervising social workers have a lot of experience in working with children and young people, before they joined our Fostering and Adoption Team. They can provide help and support and will also work alongside the child's social worker. Your supervising social worker can also attend meetings (such as childcare reviews) with you and can help you in writing reports that you might be asked for. They will also keep in regular contact with you by phone.
Out of hours support
The Council has an Emergency Duty Team that works after 5pm at night and at the weekends. You can phone them for support if you need it.
Support from Health professionals
We work closely with NHS Forth Valley. There is a nurse who provides dedicated support for looked after and accommodated children and young people and their carers. The nurse can be a valuable source of support for all health issues.
We will provide training and professional development for all foster carers to help them carry out their fostering tasks. You will be offered training throughout your time as a foster carer. Feedback from carers who go to our training has been really positive. They have told us that this training helps them understand and learn and the skills they have gained has helped them to meet and promote the needs and welfare of the children and young people in their care.
AllowancesCaring for children can be an expensive business. Foster carers receive a weekly rate as listed below:
|0 - 4 years||£137.08|
|5 - 10 years||£156.15|
|11 - 15 years||£194.39|
|16 - 18 years||£236.42|
|18 + years||£179.31|
FeesCarers will receive a fostering fee of £167.51 per week.Short Breaks FeesThe allowance follows the child. This means that if a child moves to a short break placement, the short break carers receive the allowance, not the full time foster carer. Both the full time carer and short break carer will both continue to receive payment of allowances on the day the child leaves their full time placement and the day the child return to their full time placement.HolidaysAll carers are entitled to 28 days holiday. Foster Carers will be entitled to full payment of fees for the 28 days holiday period. They will not receive the allowance, this will be paid to the short break carer.
Foster carers who do not take their full 28 days holiday entitlement (i.e. they take a child on holiday with them) may claim additional fee payment for to up to 14 days.
Additional PaymentsCarers will receive additional payments for the child’s birthday, Christmas and Summer Holidays and the Service will support the purchase of equipment, as required.
Post Placement RetainerThe following post placement retainers will be paid:
Placement ending after 3 months 1 week fees
Placement ending after 6 months 2 week fees
Placement ending after 9 months 4 week fees
Placement ending after 12 months 6 week fees
We also pay mileage allowance to carers when they are travelling on Stirling Council business.
This is testimonial from one of our new carers about the fostering process.
“My husband and I had thought long and hard about becoming foster carers, as soon as we decided to go ahead we got in touch with Stirling Council who responded very quickly. As everything had to be done remotely due to COVID we had a telephone call followed up with a video call to walk around the house to make sure it was suitable.
We started off with preparation groups talking about subjects such as self-care/ attachment / identity. We also got to speak with experienced foster carers which was invaluable in giving us great insight into the job itself. We were able to talk with professional health care workers on managing our expectations as well as the child's. There were other households within these groups also going through this process who we could connect with.
The assessment itself was all about us! Never had we spoken so openly to anyone about all our personal experiences from our happiest experiences to our darkest moments but during all of this we realised we were more equipped to help young people than we ever thought using some of the life skills we had used to get through different experiences - even though it was hard at times it was also very cathartic to go though and brought us closer together as couple.
Our social worker treated us with the utmost care and respect during this whole process - she was there every step of the way and we felt fully supported. By the time we went up for panel we felt prepared and confident for any questions that were raised - it was very emotional when we were officially registered as foster carers.
If anyone out there is considering fostering all I would say is "make the call" you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you wait for the perfect timing it may never happen and so many young people need a safe haven - it could be you!?”
My family and I have been fostering for 7 years. We began fostering with a private agency however due to a lengthy period with no placements we decided to look at fostering with a local authority.
I contacted several local authorities at the time, however Stirling Council were the quickest to respond to my initial note of interest. I received a courtesy call the same day and arrangements were made for an information visit. From my first phone call with the fostering and adoption team at Stirling Council I was met with a warm, enthusiastic response and I was put at ease with the prospect of change. Four years later and I am so glad we made the decision to join the team at Stirling council.
I have my own dedicated social worker, who is fantastic. She has taken the time to get to know myself, my husband and my own two children so offers us all invaluable support and advice. I know all the social workers within the fostering and adoption team so if there has ever been any time that I have needed to phone then I am always greeted warmly and made to feel valued and respected.
We have looked after many children and young people from ages 0-16yrs. Each child and their circumstances are unique and the length of time they have resided with us has varied from weeks to years. There is more consistency in placements than our previous experience. Whilst my job as a foster carer is rewarding it can also be challenging, however I feel that I am well supported and trained by the team at Stirling to help me when/if needed.
Stirling Council has a great training and support service. There are fortnightly support groups which presents a good opportunity to get together with other carers, share stories and get advice or offer a listening ear over a cup of coffee. I find that there is a lot of flexibility around training with Stirling Council both in terms of types, days and times. Training and development for carers is encouraged and is something I am keen to participate in. I am driven and keen to learn and develop myself and I have had the opportunity to do this by being encouraged by my supervising social worker to obtain my SVQ level 3 in Children and Young People.
Fostering allows me flexibility to work and be available for my children too. I feel the impact of fostering on my own children has been only positive. I enjoy fostering a great deal and feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction knowing I am making a positive difference to children.
Thank you for taking the time to read our online information about Fostering. If you require further information or are interested in becoming a foster carer, please complete this form. We will call back during office hours to further discuss your enquiry.
If a child under school leaving age is being cared for a period longer than 28 days by someone who is not a parent, guardian, close relative or an approved foster carer, the Council's Social Work services will need to be informed as this would be considered a private fostering arrangement.
Last updated: Thursday, March 18, 2021 1:45 PM