West Dunbartonshire Council launched a campaign earlier this year to recruit more foster carers, but came under fire for adopting the advertising phrase ‘earn a living as a foster carer’.

Despite an increase in the number of applicants, critics argued that the slogan was inappropriate and gave out the impression that vulnerable children are a money-making commodity.

Councillor Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP group, branded it “unacceptable” and tabled a motion at last week’s council meeting calling for it to be scrapped.

Anne Swartz, secretary of Kinship Care West Dunbartonshire, has also criticised the motto and is furious the authority refused to ditch it.

She fumed: “I’m totally appalled that they have rejected this motion. Just the other day I was on the way to Glasgow and I noticed they have a sign on a school fence in Clydebank, which to me is disgraceful.

“It’s seriously damaging putting a message like that out there.

“They are saying their campaign has been successful but they have not provided any evidence of this. Just because you have more interest doesn’t mean it’s been successful.

“Saying children are a commodity is totally wrong, and the campaign shouldn’t be driven by this. We will not rest until the council change this.” Councillor McColl called for the slogan to be scrapped in order to ensure the council attracts people who have a genuine wish to care for children.

He also said he believed the care of children should come before the promotion of fostering as a money-making scheme. Cllr McColl added: “There was one or two individuals after the vote who couldn’t look me in the eye.

“It was very strange because I know there are at least three Labour party councillors who have told campaigners that they are uncomfortable with the slogan. The point is there’s a lot of people out there who are upset and a bit offended, especially people who are foster carers, about the way it comes across.

“Earn a living as a foster carer — people are taking that to mean make money out of kids. That’s absolutely not what the council’s intention was — but that’s the way it’s coming across.” Councillor McColl’s motion was defeated as the majority of councillors instead supported an amended motion tabled by Clydebank Waterfront councillor, Gail Casey, which said the council must ensure people know they would not be left out of pocket by becoming a foster carer.

She said: “We can only apologise to the people offended by it but as far as I’m concerned it’s worked.

“Basically it’s very difficult for us to recruit foster carers and this year we had something like 220 people applying. We have to go through the same process whether it’s two or 22 so they go through a very rigorous process before anyone gets to be anywhere near any foster children. Our department is very diligent in the process they put people through to become foster carers.”