Fostering legislation in Scotland

Fostering is a devolved issue in the UK. Legislation about care and foster care therefore varies across the UK. In Scotland, the main legislative body is the Scottish Parliament, which has introduced a wide range of law and guidance that has relevance for foster care. Scotland’s care and justice system for children and young people is called the Children’s Hearing System.

The Children’s Hearings System

The Children’s Hearings System is the care and justice system for Scotland’s children and young people up until the age of 16 (for some children, until 18). Children and young people are referred to the children’s reporter (Scottish Children's Reporter Administration 'SCRA') because some aspect of their life is causing concern. This could be for a variety of reasons, generally because there are significant concerns about the child’s safety, health and welfare but can also include concerns such as not attending school or committing offences.

Typically, referrals to the reporter are made by social work, the police, health or education. However, anyone may make a referral to the reporter. If the reporter receives a referral about a child or young person, they investigate it and determine whether or not compulsory measures of supervision are required. If they are required, the case is referred to a children’s hearing.

Further information is available about children's hearings on the SCRA website, including an information resource for foster carers and also on the Children's Hearings Scotland website

For children and young people

In line with Keeping The Promise and Corporate Parenting commitments, SCRA have worked alongside Hearings-experienced young people to design and develop new forms (May 2022) for children and young people to complete. This work links closely with Our Hearings, Our Voice 40 Calls to Action and young people’s requests to have online options, as well as paper format, to submit their views. The Hearing About Me form, and the complementary Going to a Hearing leaflet to support children and young people, now replaces the former 'All About Me' form. 

See also:



Children (Scotland) Act 2020 - available at Children (Scotland) Act 2020 (

Children (Scotland) Act 1995 – available at

The Adoption and Children Act (Scotland) 2007 – available at

Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 – available at

Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 – available at

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 – available at

The Continuing Care (Scotland) Order 2015 – available at

Statutory Guidance

Guidance on Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 - available at


Good Practice Guidance

Getting it Right for Every Child: Guidance on Overnight Stays for Looked After and Accommodated Children – available at

Managing Allegations Against Foster Carers and Approved Kinship Carers: How Agencies Should Respond – available at



For more information, contact Fosterline Scotland