Foster Children

If you are being fostered it can be a confusing time and you will probably have loads of questions. This section is for you if you live with, or are going to live with, foster carers. It includes information about being in foster care and who you can turn to for help.

If you don’t find the answers you are looking for, you can always talk to your social worker, foster carer or you can contact us.

Why do I have to go into foster care?

Children and young people live in foster care for all sorts of reasons. It’s not because of anything you have done. Sometimes we have to make sure you are safe and happy and looked after.

Your social worker will be able to explain why you are spending time, or living with foster carers, and help you keep in touch with your family.

What are foster carers like?

Foster carers are special people who are there to look after you and make sure you have everything you need. They know about what children need to make them feel safe and happy.

Your foster carer will know all about you and what you need.

Foster carers are carefully picked for looking after children and they know they have to take very special care of you.

What does my social worker do?

Your social worker is there to help you and to listen to what you are worried about. They will talk to you about:

  • why you are living with foster carers
  • how you can stay in touch with your family
  • what pocket money you will get
  • any worries or problems you have

Your social worker is your own special person, who is there just for you to answer any questions you have. They will come and see you regularly in your foster home and you will have their phone number so you can phone them when you want to ask them anything.

What is a foster home like?

A foster home is just like any other home. It might be in the town or in the country, but it will have all the things you had in your own home. You might have your own room, or you might share with another young person. You will always have a place to keep all your special things.

When you arrive, your foster carer will ask what you like to eat and the things you like doing so that they can make you welcome.

Your foster carer will explain the routines and rules in their house so that you know what is happening - these might be different from being at home.

Who lives in a foster home?

Your social worker will tell you all about your foster family before they take you there. All foster families are different.

They might have their own children, or other children who are like you who need to spend some time away from their families as well.

They might be a couple or a single person on their own. They might have pets or they might not.

How long will I have to stay?

Sometimes it can be for only a few weeks and other times it can be for longer.

We want children to be with their own families where they can be safe and happy so we will always be looking at this.

Your social worker will be able to tell you what is happening with your family and when you can go back home.

Will my family know I am safe?

Yes. Your social worker will still be seeing your mum or your dad all the time and they will make sure that they know how you are doing.

You may also be able to phone your family.

What is a care plan?

When you go and live with your foster family you will have a care plan. This is your plan and it tells everyone what is important to keep you healthy and happy. It says when you can see your own family, what support you need at school and what kind of things you like doing.

Your social worker will help you read this and answer any questions you have.

Will I be able to stay with my brothers and sisters?

We will try and find a place for you to stay together.

If we can’t find a place with enough bedrooms we will make sure that you are close to each other and see each other as often as possible.

What if I get scared?

You should talk to your foster carer and they will try and help you. Or you can ask to see your social worker who will come and talk to you.

You can also ask to talk to the children’s rights worker who is there to speak to children and young people that are living away from home in foster families.

Can I bring my own things?

Your social worker will tell you what you will be able to take with you. You will be able to take pictures and your favourite toy or books.

Your foster carer will help you if you don't have something you need.

Can I still see my own family?

We know this will be very important to you and so does your foster carer. Your social worker will explain when you will see your family and how often. It is up to you who you want to see in your family.

What if I do not like my foster home?

It can be hard staying away from home and sometimes it takes time to settle in. Try and talk to your foster carer or social worker, they are there to help you and they want you to be happy.

After you have been with your foster family for a month you will have a review, where you will be able to say how you are feeling, what you like and what you don’t like.

If you have any problems in your foster home you need to tell the person who is running this meeting how you are feeling.

Who else will listen to me?

If you don’t want to talk to your foster carer or your social worker you can talk to the following people:

  • the children’s rights worker can be contacted free on 0800 917 8275
  • Who Cares Scotland are there to support young people like you who are in care. They can be contacted free on 07712 869576
  • Childline is a 24-hour phone line where you can speak to someone if you are really scared or worried about something. They can be contacted free on 0800 1111

What are my rights while I am in foster care?

You have the right to:

  • be safe, secure and protected
  • be listened to and treated equally and fairly
  • information, advice, healthcare and an education
  • enjoy your religion and culture
  • any help you need to live as independently as possible, if you have a disability
  • know why you live in a foster home and when you’ll next see your family
  • privacy, and personal information about you should only be given to others who really need to know

If you ever feel that someone is taking away any of your rights, please don’t be shy about speaking up. Nobody has the right to deny you these things.

Find out about our Children’s Rights service.