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 – you have to build strong relationships with foster children, plus with the fostering agency and other professionals involved. Here are some essential characteristics we look for.
Relationship with the agency and other professionals
A 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.
- 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.
- Be willing to be flexible in their approach to childcare and apply all training in their care accordingly.
- Be able to admit that they need help and seek support from their agency or from their local authority when they need it.
- Be able to act on behalf of their foster children during school/college meetings etc
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.
Read more about the training and support we give to our foster carers.
Relationship with the child
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
- Be non-judgemental about the child or their background. A foster carer must possess a positive attitude to diversity and difference. This is because some children come from a troubled family, or may have experienced abuse or neglect.
- Have resilience in order to meet the challenges of fostering a child.
- Possess certain skills to care for particularly vulnerable foster children including empathy and patience.
- 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.
- Have the ability to interact with the children they care for effectively, to meet their emotional, intellectual and cultural needs. Communication and listening skills are essential in building strong relationships.
- Be competent and be able to demonstrate that they have a sound judgement.
- 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.
- Understand the value of family life and must transfer this into their care. A child must always be in a supportive and loving environment.
- 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.
- Have a warm and engaging personality which translates positively to a child.