Do you want to become a foster carer, but are worried you don’t have the right qualities? There’s no need to keep worrying, simply ask yourself: do I want to make a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable children?
If you answered yes, the likelihood is that you have the drive and compassion to make a good role model for younger people. In our experience, that’s the first sign of a budding carer ready to make a significant impact.
Of course, if you’re still wondering what else makes for a great carer, read on as we explore the qualities of a good foster carer.
The qualities of a good foster carer
Over the course of our lives, we all pick up different skills and experiences. Foster carers come from a range of backgrounds, but they all share similar qualities at their heart. So, regardless of their age or relationship status, here are some of the top traits and attributes our greatest foster carers have in common.
Commitment to helping children
A quality that every foster carer must-have is a genuine commitment to supporting children.
Many of the young people who are currently in care have been through difficulties and are in critical need of a safe, supportive space to grow and develop. As such foster carers must be able to provide a compassionate, understanding environment, and be willing to be there every step of the way as they develop.
All of the very best foster carers are genuinely dedicated to influencing positive changes in the children they care for. Many of them use their life experiences and knowledge to support little ones in living the life they’ve always dreamt of.
Many children have an incredible talent for sniffing out lies or mistruths. And, with some foster children lacking in trust due to past experiences, it’s incredibly important that you’re able to be open and honest at all times.
Through honesty, you’ll be able to build trust with the children in your care, helping you to foster a better environment in which to nurture and support them.
In a professional sense, honesty is also essential. You must be able to liaise with your support worker, as well as other parties such as families and medical professionals, to ensure the children in your care receive all the support they need, when they need it.
Openness to learning
Foster carers never stop learning. From the very first sessions to the ongoing support training and specialist courses available, there will be no end to the things you can learn.
Most of this training will help you deliver the best possible care to children, and other sessions are crucial for helping you develop and provide specialist care. Regardless of whether you pick to be a specialist, you’ll need to be receptive and engaged when it comes to learning new skills.
In the role of a foster carer, you’ll need plenty of resilience to combat the challenges you encounter. Throughout your journey, it’s inevitable that you’ll face ups and downs, so you mustn’t let any obstacles get in your way. And remember, the Olive Branch team will be there to support you through every step.
All children are different, and they’ll each have their own needs and routines. As such, flexibility is one of the most important qualities of a good foster carer.
When you welcome a child into your life, you’ll have to adapt your personal lifestyle to ensure all of their needs are met, and they feel fully supported. This could include everything from completing the school run, taking them to support sessions to simply dropping them off after school activities.
Despite flexibility being key, consistency is also paramount. Consistency will provide the stability a child needs to feel safe and secure. Take the time to understand the child, and their different behaviours, to help you in consistently approaching the various situations that arise during care.
Children who have come from difficult backgrounds often lack stability in their life so far, so your approach to these situations will help them to overcome obstacles, develop for the better and understand right from wrong.
It’s important for a child to be able to sense and understand that you do sincerely care about them. If not, they won’t feel safe, happy or comfortable. Therefore, excellent foster carers are people dedicated to helping children reach their full potential.
It’s an incredibly rewarding process, but you must stay focused on supporting your child and helping them overcome the challenges they may face or work through the struggles they’re experiencing.
Most importantly, you must be kind and able to show kindness even at the most adverse times.
A child will be in your care due to situations out of their control, and many will be feeling vulnerable as a result. In their vulnerability, they’ll need your support, regardless of how they’re choosing to show their emotions. So, whether they’re upset or acting out, it’s vital that as a foster carer, you can show kindness at all times.
Use your qualities for good
While there are plenty more qualities of a good foster carer, these are just a few of our top traits. They all play their own important part in supporting the upbringing of a vulnerable child. From providing the stability that they need to blossom, or kindness at their time of need, each one has the power to change a life.
Do you have some of the qualities we’ve listed? You’d likely make an incredible foster carer for a vulnerable child in need.
If you’re interested and want to know more information, contact our friendly team for a non-obligatory chat. Ask us any questions you may have, discover more about the life of a foster carer and find out about the application process.
Get in touch with the team by calling on 01706 558910, or visit our contact page where you can jot down your info, and we’ll call you back.