Barnardo’s Research Aims To End The Misconceptions Surrounding Foster Care

Research commissioned by the country’s leading children’s charity has revealed that the campaign to recruit new foster carers is being hampered by a number of pre-conceived notions about what it takes to become a foster carer.

The YouGov poll, which was commissioned by Barnardo’s, reveals that more than two in five respondents (44 per cent) who would not consider fostering in the next ten years believe their age is a barrier to foster care, even though there is no upper age limit on becoming one.

Furthermore, nearly one in five of respondents (19 per cent) felt that they could not afford to become a foster carer, or that there isn’t enough financial support available for foster carers. Barnardo’s offers around £500 per week for each young person fostered. It is these often-repeated misconceptions that led to 92 per cent of those not an approved foster carer in the same poll revealing that they would not consider becoming a foster carer in the next five years.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “We continue to experience a shortage of foster carers, leaving hundreds of children without a safe and loving home. No child should suffer as a result of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and we strongly believe that any loving person can make a wonderful foster parent to a child in need. We offer support and training every step of the way and, on average, a payment of £495 per week, per child is available.”

Barnardo’s in Scotland is committed to keeping The Promise to care-experienced young people and to ensure every child in Scotland grows up safe, loved and respected. That is why the charity is calling on people to consider joining Barnardo’s Scotland as a foster carer. Barnardo’s has more than 80 years of experience of successfully placing children and young people with families, and there are many benefits to being a carer.

Those looking to foster will be supported with a thorough child and carer matching process, as well as out-of-hours advice and a support line service provided by the social work team. There are support groups and family social events, held to enable carers to meet the team and other local carers, along with a high level of professional training and development, relevant to each specific young person placed.

Jamie Kilday, from Glasgow, spent ten years in Barnardo’s foster care, and is in no doubt at the profoundly positive effect that experience has had on him, as he explains: “When I went to Barnardo’s, it was life-changing, and so, for me, foster care made me the man I am today. The positivity of being loved, nurtured, cared for and having that sense of anything being possible and having somewhere to call home.

“As a charity, Barnardo’s was a place to call home with the amazing people there and the support workers – some of them will be in my life for the rest of my life. The charity as a whole was a positive and that was reflected in the foster families that I was a part of.

“Foster carers can change your life for the better and they maybe don’t realise to what extent. It’s the simple things in life that so many people maybe take for granted – that it’s nice to come into the house and it’s clean and tidy; that there’s your dinner every night; or just deciding randomly to go to the cinema.”

Jamie, 25, who was in the care system from the age of 11, is also keen to talk up the huge benefits of being a foster carer and is eager to speak directly to the 24 per cent of respondents to the YouGov poll that said they do not think they have what it takes to foster a child.

He added: “My advice is to be realistic and don’t feel under pressure that it needs to be all roses and that it’s all about changing lives. Sometimes, it’s just about doing the basics, because many kids have never had that, and even that can change a young person’s life forever.”

As well as the fundamental benefits that foster carers can bring to children and young people in need of a place to call home, Jamie says it’s very much a two-way street. He explains: “Lives for foster carers change, too, and people can often forget that. Foster parents can gain a family forever and I would say to them to embrace it.”

All foster carers receive a daily allowance which is designed to cover the cost of caring for a fostered child. This is intended to cover food, clothes, toys, pocket money, gifts, personal items, transport and all other expenses incurred when looking after a child and/or young person, including household costs.

For more information on becoming a foster carer with Barnardo’s in Scotland, please visit, or to talk to someone on the telephone, please call 0800 0277 280. The charity’s lines are open from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.


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