Could you become a foster carer?
According to David Bartleman, “There’s a carer in everybody.”
He and wife Christine have fostered a dozen children over the last decade.
The Cupar couple currently share their home with two teenage brothers and a nine-month old baby girl.
In our video they tell us what it was like to become foster carers, after spending several years living in Spain.
They are among dozens of carers around Scotland, who worked tirelessly through the Covid pandemic, under the auspices of agency Care Visions Fostering Scotland.
Like local authorities around the country, fostering network Care Visions is always on the look-out for more people to take in children who can’t remain with their own families for whatever reason.
Supervising social worker June Hopkins tells us about the process of becoming a foster carer and who is suitable for the role.
We also meet Aidan, 13, has lived with Bill and Karen Neil in Dundee for seven years, and is one of a number of children they have cared for.
They give us a glimpse into life as a foster family, the strong bonds that can be formed and how carers can help youngsters from troubled backgrounds turn their lives around.
What is fostering and how can you become a foster carer in Scotland?
Foster carers look after children in their own homes both short-term, long-term and sometimes permanently.
No formal qualifications are required and people can apply regardless of gender, marital status or sexual identity.
Qualities required, according to Care Visions, are energy, enthusiasm, resilience and commitment to children and young people, and applicants must be able to offer a stable home environment.
Training is provided, starting with a skills workshop and intensive training in trauma support and strategies for working with children, followed up by ongoing training in areas such as First Aid and child protection.
Carers are supported by social workers, who keep regular contact.
Foster carers are considered self-employed and receive a payment and financial allowance for each child.
According to Angus Council potential foster carers must:
- be at least 21 years old
- have a spare room
- be in reasonable health and medically fit
- be able to drive and have access to a car
- be a non-smoker (this includes e-cigarettes/vaping) if caring for a child under 12 years old.
Dundee City Council recently appealed for new carers.
Depute children and families convener Councillor Roisin Smith said: “I would appeal for anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer in Dundee to get in touch.
“This could make a real difference for local children.”