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Fostering FAQs

Answers to common questions about fostering.

Why should I become a carer with the City of Edinburgh Council?

There are lots of great reasons to become a carer with us! Briefly, we offer professional support, training, competitive fees and a 28 day retainer fee. Most importantly we allocate children to our own carers first before using outside agencies. This means our carers can have a more reliable income and fewer vacancies than private foster carers.

I’m on my own – can I still be a carer?

Yes. We’ll consider you as a carer, whether you’re single, married, divorced or living with a partner.

I’m in my 50s – is that too old to be a carer?

No. People of all ages make successful carers, as long as they are fit enough for the task.

Must I already be a parent?

No. We welcome applications from single people and couples who don’t have children, as well as those who do.

Do we need a big house?

No. It doesn’t matter if you live in a flat or a house, or if you rent or own your home. However, it’s important that children are able to have privacy so you will need enough space.

I don’t have a spare room.

You do not need to have a spare room to foster babies aged 0-2 years.

I smoke. Can I still foster?

If you smoke we will only place children over two years old with you, or five years in the case of a child with disabilities. This is for the child’s safety and wellbeing.

Do we need to be well off?

No. Your ability to be a carer does not depend on the amount of money you have.

Will I get paid?

Yes. Carers are classed as self-employed and paid by the Council. The amount you’re paid depends on the type of caring you undertake and in some cases it can amount to the same as a full-time job. You would also be entitled to tax relief from the Government. As well as being paid, you will receive a maintenance allowance to cover the costs of caring for the child. Some adopters are eligible for an adoption allowance.

See the allowances and fees section for more details.

My time is limited – can I still be a carer?

Yes. You don’t have to be available on a full-time basis for caring for a child with disabilities or for short breaks care

What ages are the children who need care?

All ages. We urgently need carers for children from 0-21. We particularly need foster carers for siblings, older children and children with disabilities. The amount of care required by each of these groups is reflected in increased fees paid to our carers.

How do you get selected?

Looking after children is the most important job anyone can do so we take the task of choosing carers very seriously. However, we don’t make it a frightening experience. There’s a series of interviews and visits where you find out more about what’s involved and we find out more about you and your home. There are preparation groups too, before you start out.

The whole process is about finding safe, caring people to look after Edinburgh’s children.

How long does it take to become a carer?

The whole process from your initial enquiry can take up to a year. Once you decide to become a carer with us you will be assigned a liaison social worker who will guide and support you every step of the way.

Find out more about the steps to becoming a foster carer.

If you have a question which is not answered here, do get in touch: Contact us: ­ or phone 0800 174 833 or 0131 529 2773