Adoption can provide a permanent family for a child in care, who cannot return to their birth family. Most children requiring adoption are of primary school age or younger. Some will need extra support with their education. They could be single children, or groups of brothers and sisters. Some may have a disability that could affect their development or mobility.

Our adoption guides will give you more information:

People adopted in Scotland have the right to access their birth information (once they reach 16 years of age). We provide a counselling service to help adoptive parents and children through this process:

  • Counselling in search of origins – adoptive parents
  • Counselling in search of origins – for people who were adopted


Foster care provides care for children, in a family setting, who cannot live with their own families. There are many reasons why children come into care. Foster care can last weeks, months or for the rest of a childhood (depending on circumstances).

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. You can be single, cohabitating or married.

Our fostering guides will give you more information:

Short-break caring

IMPACCT (Involving More Parents and Carers of Children Together) is a family-based short break arrangements that gives flexible breaks to children and young people with complex health needs, disability or life-limiting condition. The care is provided by families in their own homes within the local community. The children and young people gain new experiences, fun and friendship. Their family members get a break from their caring role.

We need people from all walks of life to be IMPACCT carers. You can be single, or live with a partner, be working, retired, or unemployed. You may, or may not, have children of your own. You don’t need experience of caring for a child with a disability as we will give you training and support.

Kinship care

Sometimes children and young people experience issues within their birth family and may no longer be able to live at home. If this happens we can consider if the children and young people could live with other family members. Kinship care can be time limited or long term.

There are two types of kinship care:

  • Formal – children are ‘looked after’ and placed with relatives or people who know them, often as a result of a children’s hearing or court order
  • Informal – children are looked after by relatives, often many informal care arrangements are unknown to statutory services

A kinship carer is defined as ‘a person who is related to the child (through blood, marriage or civil partnership) or a person with whom the child has a pre-existing relationship‘ (Looked After (Scotland) Regulations 2009). We support kinship carers as per the principles set out in Part 13 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Our kinship guide will give you more information:

What happens next?

Please complete the online enquiry form. Our Family Placement Team will then contact you to discuss and take things forward.

Prospective foster carers, adoptive parents, short-break carers and kinship carers are subject to very detailed assessment, checking process and training (if appropriate) before each application is presented for approval.

Contact us

  • To find out how we can help, please call 01294 310300
  • Family Placement Team, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, 3rd floor Bridgegate House, Irvine KA12 8BD