Characteristics of a successful foster carer

29/10/2013 12:00am

Fostering agencies like us want to meet potential foster carers who have a specific set of characteristics. Being a successful foster carer takes a lot of skill and effort. They will not only have to build strong relationships with their foster children, they will need to build relationships with their fostering agency as well as other professionals involved with the children.

Below are some necessary characteristics of a successful foster carer:

Relationship with the agency and other professionals

  • A successful foster carer will be willing to work closely with the agency to fully understand the needs of the child and what is expected of them to ensure that the goals for the child are met.
  • A foster carer must be willing to participate with necessary training proposed by the agency. Fostering agencies are continually seeking ways to improve their methods, services and procedures to ensure that both the child and the foster carer receive the best support. A foster carer must have a strong understanding of childcare and the problems children may face; therefore it is important that a foster carer is up-to-date with these developments.
  • A foster carer must be willing to be flexible in their approach to childcare and apply all training in their care accordingly.
  • A foster carer must be able to admit that they need help and seek support from their agency or from their local authority when they need it.
  • A foster carer must be able to act on behalf of their foster children during school/college meetings etc

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Relationship with birth families

  • In some cases the foster carer will need to work in partnership with their foster children’s birth families. A foster carer must be able to work in unison with the birth family if required.


Relationship with the child

  • On a top level, a foster carer must provide day-to-day care for children or young people, establishing their needs and ensuring that they are provided with a stable and caring environment while they are separated from their birth families
  • At times a child or young person may come from a troubled family, or may have experienced abuse or neglect. It is therefore essential that a foster carer is non-judgemental about the child or their background. A foster carer must possess a positive attitude to diversity and difference.
  • Fostering a child can be challenging, a foster carer must have resilience in order to meet these challenges.
  • A foster carer must possess certain skills to care for particularly vulnerable foster children including empathy and patience.
  • A foster carer must act as a positive role model for their foster children in the family home and within the local community. Often foster carers gain a positive image in the community by participating in events such as fundraising.
  • Communication and listening skills are essential in building strong relationships. A foster carer must have the ability to interact with the children they care for effectively to meet their emotional, intellectual and cultural needs.
  • A foster carer must be competent and be able to demonstrate that they have a sound judgement.
  • A foster carer must accept that they may need to develop a flexible approach to their care depending on the needs of the child. Sometimes an unexpected difficult situation may occur which the foster carer will need to handle.
  • A foster carer must understand the value of family life and must transfer this into their care. A child must always be in a supportive and loving environment.
  • A foster carer must have the ability to give praise and build a child’s self-esteem which will have an overall positive effect on the child. As a result the child will become more confident in their own abilities.
  • A foster carer must have a warm and engaging personality which translates positively to a child.

If you possess all or some of these characteristics and are considering becoming a foster carer get in touch with us on  0845 200 4040 or email us on