What is Fostering?
Fostering means providing temporary care for children who cannot live with their own families, sometimes for weeks, months or for the rest of their childhood. Find out more about children who need foster care and the different types of foster care.
Who Needs Foster Care?
In Dumfries and Galloway, we need homes for children of all ages from babies to teenagers. There are many reasons why children come into foster care. Around 60% of children are in foster care because of neglect or abuse. This can take a wide range of forms, including sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Many children can be affected by parents who are misusing drugs and/or alcohol, poor parental mental health or living in an environment where domestic violence is present. In such cases, children will be temporarily placed in foster care until it's safe and stable enough for them to return home. If it's decided it is unsafe for them to return home then plans will be made to find them a permanent family whether this is kinship, foster care or adoption. When children come into foster care it's important they are able to stay with their brothers and sisters so we need people who can care for sibling groups as well as individual children.
We are always keen to ensure that we have a variety of different carers who are able to meet the needs of vulnerable young people who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect throughout their early years. This can sometimes impact on the young person's ability to keep themselves safe from harm or risk, make it hard to form healthy relationships and sustain school attendance.
We have at times required carers who can offer a home to mothers and babies. This involves offering advice, guidance and support to enable a parent to gain skills and confidence in caring for their baby, and to allow the baby to remain with their parent.
Sometimes we require carers who have knowledge and experience of caring for children with additional needs both physical and emotional. This might be working in partnership with other carers or family members to provide short breaks.
A growing number of asylum-seeking children are entering the UK, all of whom will need to be placed in foster care. Many of these children have experienced traumatic journeys and face an uncertain future, in an unfamiliar culture.
Different Types of Foster Care
Short Break Carers
Our short break carers offer support during weekends and holidays or longer if required. They are flexible and responsive and can build relationships with children and their parents/carers to provide regular breaks for children where this is deemed appropriate.
Our interim carers provide a family home for children when they first come into foster care. Interim care can last up to 24 months, during this time social workers will be working with birth parents to see if children can return home safely or, if this is not possible, they will help children move on to extended family, permanent or adoptive carers.
"Routine, structure, love and attention is what the children need from me when they are with me. If you give that attachment its easily transferable. They start to think if that person is nice and love me then someone else will too".
Intensive Support Service Carers (ISS)
ISS carers provide an intensive level of care and support to some of our most challenging young people 24/7. This can include those who have previously been in residential care, those who are involved with youth justice, those who are out of education and those with a high level of need. This requires a carer who is at home on a fulltime basis. ISS carers need to have experience of working with children who have experienced trauma and be able to offer one-to-one support to children and young people with no other birth children under the age of 18 living at home.
Our permanent carers provide a home for children into their adulthood whether this be up to age 21 or beyond. This is needed when children are unable to return to the care of their parents or extended family. An important aspect for our permanent carers is their ability to maintain a child's identity by supporting relationships with their birth family and people who are important to them.
We can help you can find the type of fostering that best fits your family, experience, preference and individual circumstances.