Adoption, fostering and kinship care


Foster a child

Why do we need foster carers in Shetland?

Many children in Shetland need to access foster care for a number of reasons. There may be a family emergency and no other adults to help. Some families need short-term care while difficulties are resolved. There may be longer-term issues such as illness, drug or alcohol misuse, where parents are no longer available to offer the care that the child needs.

Children in need of foster care vary in age from new born babies to teenagers. There are single children and groups of siblings. All are from families in Shetland with a variety of backgrounds. Foster care is a support mechanism for children and families to help them through a period of crisis. The aim is to reunite families when it is appropriate to do so. Foster carers need to work with the child’s family and other significant people in their life. Some parents and children may feel resentful and anxious about being placed in foster care, especially if it is against their wishes. Foster carers will need to give them time, reassurance and respect.

You can download our Infopack for more details:

Infopack (1.45MB pdf)

Can I foster?

We are always looking for new foster carers and would encourage people from all backgrounds and life experiences to show an interest in fostering Shetland children. Anyone can be a foster carer as long as they have the qualities, skills and experience required to look after children that have to come into care.

Applicant must:

  • be over 21 years old
  • have a spare room
  • be Shetland residents

Applicants do not have to be employed, married or have any special qualifications. All applicants will be subject to checks, such as health checks, PVG checks, local authority checks, personal and employment reference checks. You should be in good physical and mental health and be financially stable. Foster carers need to be warm, compassionate, caring and understanding of the situations that foster children have come from.

We are looking for carers who are committed to caring for some of Shetland’s most vulnerable children. Suitable foster carers will offer a secure and stable home as well as a safe and nurturing environment. It is a requirement that our carers work as part of a team with social workers, other agencies and parents to obtain the best possible outcomes for children. Confidentiality must be respected at all times. You will receive an allowance for looking after a foster child and get support from a social worker in the Family Placement Team, as well as relevant training and foster carer support groups.

Foster carers are needed throughout Shetland, we have range of carers who live rurally and a few based within Lerwick. We need a wide spectrum so that it gives us more choice about where children can be placed and to find the right match between child and foster carer.

How do I become a foster carer?

After reading the information pack you can take the next step to begin the process of fostering by contacting the Family Placement Team.

Phone 01595 744000 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to speak to a member of the team or email

You can complete the Registration of interest form.

Private Fostering

Do you have someone else’s child living with you full-time or have you arranged for your child to live with someone else full-time?

The Foster Children (Scotland) Act 1984 states that if a person is caring for a child they are not related to and neither parent resides in that property it may be a private fostering arrangement.

People living in Shetland involved in a private fostering arrangement have a legal duty to inform the Shetland Islands Council.

Shetland Islands Council have a duty to ensure the child is safe, receiving proper care and can also provide the carers with help as required.

Please contact the Family Placement Team to speak about your private fostering arrangement or if you have any questions.