Kate Forbes MSP has called on the Highland Council to pay foster carers a fee for each child placed with them in an attempt to open up additional places in the north of Scotland.
At present, the council only pays one fee to foster carers – regardless of the number of children they look after. It is thought that most other local authorities pay a fee per-child, rather than per-carer.
The present practice increases the chances of siblings being unnecessarily separated.
Due to a lack of foster carers in the Highlands, the local council currently pays more than £2m-per-year on placing foster children outwith the area.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “It is important to keep siblings together, and there are some foster parents in the Highlands who are registered to take several children but only take one at the moment.
“Elsewhere in Scotland, councils pay foster parents a fee per child but in the Highlands they only pay a single fee irrespective of how many children are cared for.
“It strikes me that if we want to see parents take more than one child, keep families together and catch up with other local authorities, then Highland Council should consider paying a fee per child rather than just a one-off.
“As I have said previously, people don’t foster because of the money but it can make the difference of them continuing or not.”