Children who need foster families are aged 0-16. There are many reasons why children and young people might need to be accommodated with foster carers.
These can include:
- Families being unable to cope
- Parental ill-health
- Parental drug or alcohol misuse
- School attendance concerns
- Youth offending
"The children who come to stay with us are not like aliens, they just need a bit more attention."
Children of foster carers, aged 11, 12 and 13
Children who need foster families are not different from other children but they will often have experienced troubled or disrupted family lives, or can have experienced separation, loss or abuse. They are likely to have a high level of need and may present some challenging or difficult behaviour.
Fostering is a way of offering these children and young people a safe, stable, family environment while their own families are unable to look after them.
Some children will need a regular short-break away from their families, over a period of time, to help to support them to stay at home.
Some children and young people will need to be looked after for a short time to allow their families the chance to sort out their problems and will return home. For some children, it can take a few months or years for their own families to get back on their feet.
For some children, their families' difficulties are so serious that they cannot return home. These children may stay permanently with foster carers until they are adults or they may move on to adoptive families.
In West Lothian we need caring and committed people to foster babies, children and young people, both on a short-term and long-term basis.