Martin Whitfield MSP has led a Members’ business debate at the Scottish Parliament on this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from 13 to 26 May.

The South Scotland MSP brought the debate to Holyrood in order to take time to mark the fortnight in the Parliament because foster care is so important for the more than 4,000 children and young people in Scotland who are being fostered.

During his opening speech in the debate, Mr Whitfield highlighted the significant amount of work and investment East Lothian Council has made in fostering over recent years in order to help address difficulties with recruiting foster carers locally.

Recruitment and retention of foster carers is a national problem with experts in the field estimating Scotland is currently approximately 400 families short of the number needed to meet the demand for foster placements.

Mr Whitfield went on to emphasise the vital need to improve support and funding for local authorities and third sector organisations that provide foster services, because they are struggling to meet demand.

He closed his speech by thanking “all of Scotland’s brilliant, wonderful, marvellous foster carers and the Fostering Network for all the hard work that it does in supporting them and representing their voices.”

Commenting after the debate, Martin Whitfield MSP said: 

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Fostering Network and other agencies to bring this debate to the Scottish Parliament and turn the spotlight on Foster Care Fortnight.

“Foster carers across Scotland do an amazing job and deserve our full thanks and support. However, we know that issues like the cost-of-living crisis have made it harder for people to consider fostering in recent years and there is now a shortfall of around 400 foster families across Scotland.

“We must do more to support councils and third sector organisations with delivering foster care so that the demand for children and young people who need foster placements can be met.”

The full transcript of Mr Whitfield’s debate can be found here.