How to be a good foster parent
Great foster parents come from all walks of life. We get asked a lot how to be a good foster parent, but age, marital status, sexuality, job and background aren’t important. What matters is that you have the strengths and qualities to make a real difference to a child’s life. To help you decide if you’ve got what it takes, we put together a list of the top 10 qualities of a good foster parent, or read on below for the skills we’re looking for in a potential foster parent.
Resilience and Determination
Helping a child to reach their full potential is deeply rewarding. It can also be incredibly challenging and frustrating at times when you’re learning how to be a good foster parent. You will need to be resilient and determined to see things through. A good sense of humour helps too! Find out more about who can foster in the UK here.
There are many different types of fostering, but they all require a high level of determination and commitment.
Warmth, Openness and Honesty
As a foster parent you will need to provide a warm, caring and supportive home where children feel welcome and safe. You will also need to have the qualities of a good foster parent and be able to work openly and honestly with agencies and professionals, from the start of your assessment and throughout your fostering career.
This includes being honest about any struggles or difficulties you may be having as a foster parent, and seeking out support when needed.
A Good Team Player
Good foster parents work as part of a team to support a child. You will need to be able to listen and communicate effectively, accept advice and support and work to agreed plans. Preparing to be a good foster parent is essential, but you will find it one of the most rewarding experiences as a parent.
Willingness to Learn
Foster parents need to develop their childcare knowledge and skills to help them provide the best possible care for children. You will need to be open to learning and expected to attend regular training and support groups and use professional supervision to reflect on and discuss your approach to a child’s care.
You don’t need to have a big house, but foster children must have their own room.
This is essential for foster children and existing children in the household, as all children require their own quiet space to thrive. This especially true for fostered children who may have experience trauma or are repeating behaviours they have seen in the adults around them. Therefore foster parents are required to have a spare room.
Fostering can be a demanding and difficult role. As well as the support we will give you, it’s important that you have emotional and practical support available from those around you. A good foster parent will be able to look after their own wellbeing as well as that of their foster child.
Foster parents have to be very flexible. You will need to be able to adapt your lifestyle, routines and commitments to meet the needs of children.
Organised and Professional
Foster parents are professional. They attend meetings, complete reports and make sure there is a written record of all the important things that happen in the lives of the children they are caring for.
You will need to be able to see things from a child’s perspective. You will need to understand and work with the behaviours they may display and provide stable and consistent care for children who may not have experience this before.
Do you have the qualities of a good foster parent?
If you think you would make a good foster parent, we would love to hear from you. AFA is an independent fostering agency looking for foster parents in several locations across East Anglia and the Midlands. If you are looking for a fostering agency near you, we help with fostering in Norfolk, Suffolk, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, and Milton Keynes.
Find out more about welcoming a foster child into your home, and why you should choose AFA as your independent fostering agency.
Get in touch to find out more about fostering
Already a foster parent?
We’d love to hear from experienced foster parents too. Find out more about transferring fostering agencies.