Becoming a Foster Carer

Who are foster carers?

Foster carers are ordinary people and, like the children they care for, come from a variety of backgrounds. Foster carers need to be warm, patient, understanding, flexible and have the ability to care for children safely. They may be young couples, older experienced parents or single people.

What they have in common is room in their lives and homes for children that need their care.

Foster carers are needed throughout Aberdeenshire, in rural areas and in towns, from all communities, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, who can care for children who need to be fostered.

To be a foster carer you must be at least 18 years old and be emotionally, physically and financially stable.

We welcome applicants of either gender, regardless of your sexual orientation. We recognize that there are many qualities that can be brought to fostering and we are interested in your ability to provide a loving and stable environment for a child.

We welcome interest from people who are based at home or who work outside the home. We will discuss your level of availability with you and will take it into account when we consider the kind of fostering that you might be able to provide.

If you work full time, we would match you with a child whose needs could be met by a carer who works outside the home.

If you don't own your home you can still become a foster carer, as long as you have enough room and the property gives a secure and safe environment for children.

Having a police record does not automatically mean that you won’t be able to foster, however it will depend on the nature of the offence and how long ago it was committed. If you are concerned about a previous conviction please contact us.

What does a foster carer do?

 A foster carer:

  • gives a good standard of care for other people's children
  • has an understanding of the difficulties parents face and is able to work closely with children's families and others who are important to the child
  • works professionally as part of a team with the social work service
  • goes to meetings and contributes to making plans for the care of the child
  • respects confidentiality at all times

We expect foster carers will have some level of contact with a child’s parents, unless there is good reason for them not to. It is likely that parents will still be involved in everyday decisions that affect their child. Your family placement social worker will discuss arrangements for contact with a child’s family, and support you with this.

How do I become a foster carer?

If you are thinking of becoming a foster carer it is important to discuss your plans to become a foster family with your own children. They should have a say in your decision and their views will be included in the assessment process. Your own children are likely to have their own questions and they can become part of our Sons and Daughters support group.

The process of becoming a foster carer may seem a bit daunting, but there is always someone available to offer you support, advice and guidance.

The process falls into three stages:

  1. enquiry
  2. formal application
  3. fostering panel

View fostering service privacy notice (PDF 170KB).


The first step is to contact us to request an information pack. You can decide after reading the pack if you want to take things further.

If you are still interested in becoming a foster carer, fill in the registration of interest form which is included in the information pack. A family placement social worker will contact you to arrange an initial home visit.

You may be invited to attend the Skills to Foster training course which will help you decide if you want to go ahead.

Formal application

After completing the Skills to Foster training course you can fill in and submit the formal application form.

On receipt of your application a family placement social worker will start your home study. This can take up to six months to complete. The assessment and approval process involves all members of your household. It looks at all aspects of your family life and your ability to care for a child who has experienced loss and trauma. As part of this process a number of checks are done.

A home study report is produced based on the home study. You can read your report before it is sent to the Fostering Panel.

Fostering panel

Your home study report is presented to our fostering panel. You will be invited to a meeting with the panel to discuss your application.

The family placement social worker who prepared your report will discuss the role of the fostering panel in more detail with you.

The panel's recommendation goes to the Head of Social Work (Child Care and Criminal Justice) for a final decision. You will be told if you have been approved as a foster carer within 21 days.

How do I find out more?

Our four leaflets Becoming a Foster Carer; Support and Guidance; Permanent Fostering and Overview of Fostering cover many of the questions that you may have about fostering. Together they create a handy reference pack for you:

If you still have questions, or want to know more, please contact us.