Scotland’s Children’s Minister has called for more people to consider becoming foster carers.
Maree Todd spoke out at the start of Foster Care Fortnight, a UK-wide annual awareness-raising campaign run by the Fostering Network.
The Network estimates that an extra 580 new foster families will be needed in Scotland this year.
Currently, around 4,000 foster families are looking after a total of 5,158 children in Scotland.
Ms Todd said: “Foster carers open up their homes to some of our most vulnerable children and young people. It is an unbelievable 24/7 commitment that transforms lives and changes futures, and is one that I find truly humbling.
“As we celebrate this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, I know that ongoing challenges remain, not least in finding new foster families.
“Encouraging dedicated and energetic people to become foster carers is on many of our minds. It is thanks to the hard work and passion of people across the sector, including that of the Fostering Network, that it is possible for children to find a loving home.
“I would encourage anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch with their local authority to find out more.”
Sara Lurie, director of The Fostering Network in Scotland, said: “Sadly for some children and young people, their parents and extended family are unable to take care of them for any number of reasons.
“For many of them foster carers will step in to look after them. This could be for just a short time – a few days – or their whole childhood.
“Regardless of the time, the love and support offered by foster carers across Scotland can change these children’s futures.”