“Shocking” figures reveal Scotland’s fostering crisis

Paul Carberry, Action for Children's Director for Scotland.
Paul Carberry, Action for Children's Director for Scotland.

Vulnerable children in Scotland are facing an uncertain future as a new survey has revealed that more than 88 per cent of Scottish adults show little or no interest in fostering.

Over 1,000 people were polled across Scotland as part of Action for Children’s ‘Spare Room’ initiative and, when asked how likely they were to become a foster carer, 66 per cent chose “not at all likely” and 22 per cent chose “not very likely” while six per cent said “fairly likely”. Just one per cent of respondents chose “very likely”.

The findings also highlight that more than half the country’s households have a spare room with three quarters used as a guest bedroom. Yet only a tiny minority would consider using their spare room to potentially make a life-changing difference to the 800 children in Scotland in need of a safe and secure home.

This month, Action for Children is launching a new drive to recruit more foster carers aimed at highlighting not only the difference carers can make to a child or young adult.

Paul Carberry, Action for Children’s Director for Scotland, said: “These shocking figures reveal the true scale of the current fostering crisis in Scotland.

“Across the country, we have more and more children and young people who desperately need the stability a foster carer can give them yet we have fewer and fewer foster parents.

“We are looking for people from across Scotland who can provide a secure and loving home to children who have experienced trauma and loss. Lots of people can foster; it doesn’t matter if you’re older, whether you own or rent your home, are single, co-habiting or married, male or female or in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, but you must have a spare room and the ability to stand alongside children and young people to help them recover.”

The #myspareroom recruitment campaign uses virtual reality to encourage people to become foster carers. Members of the public will be able to experience through VR what it’s like to welcome a foster child into their home and see the difference it can make to a vulnerable young person. Through a virtual reality head-set – which will be available in Glasgow throughout September – people will be able to experience the story of ‘Sophie’ – an 11-year-old foster child, based on a real-life story from an Action for Children foster family.

Anyone intrested in finding out more about being a foster carer can do so at actionforchildren.org.uk or by calling 0845 200 5162.