Renfrewshire Council

What fostering is and who can do it

What fostering is, why children come into care, types of fostering, who can foster, basic requirements to foster, essential qualities of a foster carer

What fostering is

Fostering provides a safe and loving environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their families.

Foster carers are there to offer a caring and nurturing family environment, and to help guide children into a happier, positive future.

Why children come into care

Children are placed in foster care for many different reasons.

Some birth families may not be able to provide the care that they need to keep them safe and secure, and other birth families might be faced with long term illnesses. Some children may have experienced trauma and neglect, which can have an impact on their emotional, social and physical development.

By becoming a foster carer, you will have the opportunity to help children have a happier life and a more positive future.

Some of our foster carers begin their career as short break carers although most want to be interim carers. Becoming a permanent carer is something that we encourage experienced carers to consider when the time is right for them.

Types of foster care placement

Short break

Children have overnight stays with a foster family to give their birth family time to themselves. Short break placements can be from 1-120 days. Short break is also used to help carers who have children placed with them.


Provides a temporary family until the child can return home to their own family, are placed with a long term foster carer, or an adoptive family is found. This can last from a few days to several months, and in some cases beyond.


Offers permanent stability and security to a foster child for the rest of their childhood. It is our experience that young adults often remain as part of the carer's family, even when they have moved into independence.

Who can foster

If you are enthusiastic about looking after children, want to play a substantial part in putting a child on the road to success and have the ability to help them to grow and develop into confident adults, then you can offer a child more than you may think!

At Renfrewshire Council, we accept applications from different backgrounds as everyone has their own individual
experiences to offer.

Basic requirements to foster

To apply, the only requirements you need to meet to be considered are that you:

  • Are over 21
  • Have a spare bedroom
  • Are currently in good health

You can:

  • Be employed or unemployed
  • Be males and females who are married or living together in a committed and enduring relationship
  • Be same sex couples who are married or living together in a committed and enduring relationship
  • Be single males and single females
  • Own or rent the property you live in
  • Be of any religious background or sexual orientation

Essential qualities of a foster carer

The 12 essential qualities of a foster carer are:

  • Caring
  • Supportive
  • A team player
  • Calm
  • Understanding
  • Loving
  • A safe haven
  • Flexible
  • Empathetic
  • Nurturing
  • Fun 
  • Patient