St Andrew’s Children’s Society is an adoption and foster care agency established in Edinburgh in 1922, with offices in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. We prepare and support foster care families throughout the Central Belt and North-East of Scotland.

We can lead you right through your journey to becoming a foster parent.

WHY CHOOSE TO FOSTER WITH ST ANDREW’S?

  • You will receive a warm and speedy response to your initial enquiry.
  • You will have experienced social workers supporting and guiding you all the way through the process of being prepared, assessed and approved as a foster carer.
  • We will then find the right child for you, not just by looking in one local authority area, but by searching across the whole of Scotland. We are particularly looking for people who will make a long-term or permanent commitment to children who desperately need to feel they belong to a family that loves and cares for them.
  • You will receive the support you need to be the best foster carer you can be for the child in your care. Our commitment to you is long-term and you will never feel alone in the foster care task.
  • You will receive financial support to meet the costs of day to day care of a child (Foster Care Allowance) but will also receive a fee that is a direct monthly payment to you as a reward for the huge effort you will put in to make a child feel safe, loved and ready to flourish in the world (see Financial Support below).
  • The average timescale from enquiry to approval is only 6 months.

THE CHILDREN

The children that we place in foster care are vulnerable. They are already in the care of their local authority because they will have experienced some level of trauma and/or abuse. We place boys and girls, sibling groups and children of various ages, from 0 – 18 years. We particularly seek foster carers for sibling groups and older children (7+) who need a permanent home away from their birth family.

CONCURRENT CARE

We are currently working in partnership with West Lothian to provide Concurrent Care, to recruit carers for a small number of very young children who are at high risk of not being able to be cared for by their birth families.

Concurrent carers need to be prepared to have a baby or very young children placed with them initially on a fostering basis, while a concentrated effort is made to assess whether the child can be cared for by their birth parents. This involves a high level of contact with the birth family. Should the time limited assessment show that the child cannot be cared for by the birth family, the child will be adopted by their concurrent carers. This means that the child experiences very little disruption to their care in the early days of their life.

This may not suit most people who want to consider fostering but if you think you could ultimately make the commitment to adopt a child in your care if that is what is needed, then we are happy to talk further to you about this option.

If this interests you, please mention this on your enquiry form and, when a social worker visits you, they can tell you more.

At present, potential concurrent carers should live within easy reach of West Lothian.

WHO CAN FOSTER WITH ST ANDREW’S CHILDREN’S SOCIETY?

  • Single people and couples who are over 25 years of age. We do not have an upper age limit, however older people would be more likely to be suitable for older children (12+).
  • Couples who have been co-habiting for a minimum of two years, though we expect couples to have been together longer.
  • Single people and couples with and without children. lf you do have children we would take their needs into account first before helping you decide if starting the foster carer process is right for your family.
  • We welcome applications from LGBT single people and couples.
  • We also welcome applications from single people and couples from all ethnic backgrounds.
  • Single people and couples from all religious denominations or none.
  • Single people and couples in good physical and mental health. If you are unsure whether you would meet this criterion, please contact us and our Duty Social Worker would be happy to explore this further with you.
  • In order to foster children under the age of 5 years, you must be a non-smoker. This is in line with National Policy.
  • A spare bedroom is required.
  • You must live within a 60 mile radius of either Edinburgh or Aberdeen so that we can best support you with the child in your home.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Allowance and Fee
Financial support to Foster Carers is paid on a monthly basis and is in part to meet the costs of caring for the child but also includes a fee payment to you to recognise the challenges and rewards of fostering for you and your family.

Birthday Allowance
Carers will be paid the equivalent of one week fostering allowance as the birthday allowance for the year.

Christmas/Religious Festivals
Carers will be paid the equivalent of one week fostering allowance in November that is the Christmas/Religious Festival allowance for the year.

Holiday Allowance
Carers will be paid the equivalent of two weeks fostering allowances in June that is the holiday allowance for the year.

SUPPORTING YOU AS A CARER

We are committed to offering our foster carers ongoing support, both formal and informal.

Included in the support we offer is:

  • Support groups for foster carers.
  • Support groups for children.
  • Liaison with other agencies, including schools.
  • SafeBase Parenting Programme (the only agency providing this intensive support programme that helps foster carers make good loving attachments with the child in their care).
  • Ongoing training opportunities.
  • Summer picnic and story-telling events (children under 12).
  • Christmas party (children under 12).

Our staff and agency are committed to forming positive and trusting relationships with all our foster carers and your social worker will help draw up an Individual Placement Agreement between the agency, the local authority that placed the child, and yourself. This will focus on detailing the needs of the child and on the skills you will need to meet these needs as fully as possible. It will also outline the support you should expect from your own social worker and the local authority social worker responsible for the child.

THE PROCESS TO BECOME A FOSTER CARER

The social worker will tell you about fostering, the preparation and assessment process, the checks we carry out and about the agency. You should be as honest as possible with us at this point so that we can be clear with you about what the challenges will be. You will also hear about the kinds of children who need foster care homes and we will ask you about your motivation and expectations.
Our job is to give you a lot of information about foster care, particularly about the sorts of children who are in the local authority care system and who we need foster care families for. You have a crucial role to play at this time. You are given a chance to take a very honest look at what you want out of fostering and what you can offer a child waiting to be fostered (all of whom have experienced loss, trauma and possible abuse).
This is the assessment process to become a foster carer and takes around 6 months to complete. The home study looks at: your personal history, relationships, support network, motivation to foster, parenting capacity, your understanding of foster care and the kinds of children who need to be fostered, what accommodation you are able to offer, how you manage your finances and what financial support we will offer you. There are statutory checks that we will conduct, including police check, local authority checks, medicals checks through your GP and personal references from employers, friends and those who know you well.
The report from your home study goes to the agency’s Foster Care Panel for consideration. The panel will meet with you to check that all the information written in your Assessment Report is correct as well as hear from you about what you can offer children and what you hope the rewards for you will be. The panel will then recommend whether you should be approved as a foster carer. The Agency Decision Maker then makes a final decision based on your report, the information received at panel and the panel’s recommendation.

LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT CHILD FOR YOU TO FOSTER

Unlike local authority foster carer services we do not confine our search to find right the child for you to one local authority area. We will search across Scotland to get the right child that best suits you and your family.

LINKING & MATCHING

When a potential match has been found, social workers involved will attend a Linking Meeting to explore the potential match and what supports may be needed.

A recommendation is made about the suitability of the match. If this is positive you will have a series of introductory meetings with the child before the decision is made to move the child into your home.

THE LEGAL CONTEXT OF FOSTER CARE

Children who are in foster care are legally protected and safeguarded by the local authority that places them with you. The legal context for children can vary depending on their needs and full information will be given to you when there is potential for a child to move into your home.