What makes a good foster carer?
Anyone thinking about taking the big step of fostering children must have thought about the skills needed. They must have thought what makes a successful foster carer – at Rainbow Fostering we have always been careful to monitor research so people can understand what qualities it takes to be a carer. Happily, the answers are quite simple and unsurprising. They are easy to understand, but what is harder is to apply them in a consistent way. That takes training and support and that is what Rainbow Fostering is excellent at giving.
A foster carer should be someone who is:
- responsive, warm, flexible and not upset easily - the ability to carry on and remain tolerant;
- firm in manner, clear and with the ability to offer warmth and understanding as well as providing guidance and control to a child or young person;
- able (with training and support) to handle difficult behaviours
And included in successful foster parenting is:
- having an expectation that the relationship with the child will always survive;
- placing emphasis on the relationship and solving problems within it;
- good communication and listening skills;
- having a flexible parenting style - able to set boundaries with a warm attitude;
- where appropriate facilitating contact with birth parents;
- having empathy for a child or young person and ensuring they do not feel rejected;
- consistently providing support and encouragement where school and education is concerned.
Perhaps the single most important thing is to always have positive expectations of a child/young people: to expect they will behave with self respect and respect for others, to expect they will do well at school because they have talents and abilities.
There is, past research suggesting successful carers are able to focus on the relationship with the child or young person.
What children and young people want and need:
All young people tend to resent strict discipline, they tend to push at boundaries so foster carers need to be able to create a sense of discipline which is consistent; consistency is very important as it is vital for creating a sense of stability and security. When this is present, the need for boundaries can be understood and respected. Research has also shown that children want to be listened to – they want their carer to spend time with them and to be encouraging.
Successful parenting provides guidance with control without coming across as harsh or ‘bossy’. It allows for the growing sense of identity and self esteem young people need to develop. It always seeks to understand avoid rejection.
We ask people to open their heart and open their homes…but also to open their minds as to how children’s hopes, needs and ambitions are always changing: to be receptive, supportive and always encouraging.
Look for opportunities to communicate important messages in a relaxed setting where a child/young person feels they have your attention and that you are interested in them
Call or email: we are a friendly team so if you are interested in becoming a foster carer, or are already fostering and considering transferring, we’d love to hear from you.