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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Who can foster? People from all backgrounds

This opinion piece is over 4 years old

Kay Gibson on breaking the stereotypes around who can foster

It’s Foster Care Fortnight and the theme is “foster care transforms lives”, which in my experience is exactly what fostering achieves.

Both for the young person in need of care and the family that provides them with the normality, stability and safety they’ve never had, fostering a child is a life changing experience.

According to the Fostering Network, over 7,500 foster families are needed across Scotland and England alone within the next 12 months, with thousands of children requiring foster families each year.

While this figure equates to less than 1% of the UK’s population, finding 7,500 new foster families is no small feat.

Kay Gibson

What matters is the quality of lifestyle, care and support you can offer that child

Kay Gibson

The campaign’s specific focus is - who can foster?

A lot of work has been done to try and break the stereotypes, but a married, middle aged couple comprising a man and woman remains the standard image of what a foster family should look like.

This isn’t the case – far from it.

Great carers come from all walks of life and all backgrounds, offering up a range of experience that can benefit a child’s development.

Yes, there are undoubtedly different lifestyle requirements asked of those who wish to be a foster carer, but these aren’t based on factors such as gender, sexuality, age - or even if you are part of a couple.

Whether you are straight or gay, single or married, within or without the 30 to 50 age group, a home owner or renter – you could still be eligible to foster a child.

What matters is the quality of lifestyle, care and support you can offer that child, whether you can offer children the stable family life they have never had.

My organisation’s current carers come from a range of backgrounds, from people who have been through the care system themselves, another misconception of why someone can’t foster, to highly successful professionals who have decided to give something back.

During Foster Care Fortnight it’s important that we take steps to put an end to the myths associated with fostering if we want sufficient numbers of carers who can give a safe home to kids who need it most.

The challenges are plenty and there are obstacles along the way, there is no doubt about it, but having the chance to change the life of a vulnerable child is one of the most invaluable and rewarding experiences you can have in a lifetime.

Kay Gibson is operations manager at Kibble Education and Care Centre.



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