Fostering in Aberdeenshire

Children come into foster care for various reasons, but mainly for their own health and safety. Sometimes there are problems at home and breakdowns in family relationships. Some children may be neglected or abused in other ways. There may have been a sudden family illness and there are no other relatives available to help out.

At any one time in Aberdeenshire there are a number of children, ranging from babies to teenagers, who aren't able to stay with their own families and who need a place to call home.

Sometimes care is needed at short notice when there is a crisis situation, or for just a few days or weeks. Sometimes a child needs a home for a few months, or even years. As well as these types of fostering, carers are also needed to offer regular weekend and/or holiday respite care.

Foster carers provide safe, healthy and secure homes for these children until their own families are able to care for them again.

But sometimes it will not be possible for a child to ever live with their family again and they need permanent care until they can live independently. Foster carers provide all aspects of care and everything a child will need to help them grow up and develop into adulthood.

Types of foster care

Temporary care

Temporary foster carers look after children and young people for periods lasting from one day up to a number of months.

After this time children may move back to their birth parents or, if this is not possible, plans will be made for them to move from their temporary foster carers to more permanent placements.

Permanent care

Some children need a permanent foster carer when all attempts to return them to birth parents have not worked.

Permanent foster care provides planned placements for children for a number of years, until they are able to live independently. This allows the child to grow up in a safe and supported family environment whilst generally having some contact with their birth family.

Children who need this type of care are usually school age up to teenagers.

Our leaflet Permanent Fostering covers many of the questions that you may have about fostering.

Respite care

Respite foster carers look after children for a few days, perhaps over a weekend or evening, to support the child’s family or foster carer.

Some families caring for children with disabilities welcome the opportunity for their child to be cared for in a safe and secure environment.

Emergency care

When a child needs to be accommodated out with office hours their care is provided by an emergency foster carer.

Generally these will be families with experience of caring for children. The child can remain with the emergency carer for up to three days.

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person (under 16) is cared for by an adult, who is not a close relative, for more than 28 days. It is normally arranged privately between the child's parent and the carer.

The Scottish Government's website has more information and guidance about private fostering and our responsibilities.

So, if you think that you might be, or are soon to be, a private foster carer please contact the Chief Social Work Officer. We can then help you make sure that the child is safe, happy and secure, no matter what their circumstances.

If you are a parent or guardian and you intend placing a child under 16 in someone else's care, who is not a close relative or an approved foster carer, for more than 28 days, you must:

  • write to the Chief Social Work Officer at least two weeks before the placement begins letting them know what you intend to do
  • contact the Chief Social Work Officer within seven days if the child has been placed in someone else's care in an emergency

Chief Social Work Officer, Communities, Aberdeenshire Council, Woodhill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen, AB16 5GB.

Kinship care

Kinship care, or 'family and friends foster care', is the term used when a child is cared for by a close friend or relative.

Unless there are clear reasons why placement within the family would not be in the child’s best interests, care within the wider family and community circle will be the first option for the child.

Financial help may be available, depending on your financial circumstances, and child benefit and tax credits can be claimed. More information is available on the Fostering Network and Scottish Government websites.

Our fostering service

Our social work service helps families care for their children at home. However, for a variety of reasons, this is not always possible so we need to recruit and train foster carers and support them in providing suitable care for children who need it

Our aim is to deliver a high quality fostering service that will provide good outcomes for children who are fostered. 

More information

Our leaflet Overview of Fostering covers many of the questions that you may have about fostering.