What skills and personality traits do you need to become a foster carer?

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If you\’ve researched the foster caring role at all, you\’ll already know that it can be quite a demanding position. In addition to being a nurturing individual, you need excellent communication and organisation skills. You must also be willing to work around the clock, as the children in your care will always be there. Before you begin with your application, knowing a little more about what\’s ahead is essential.

Foster Carer Skills

 

Patience and determination are key

Depending on the age of the child you\’re caring for and the background they come from, they may be seen as \’difficult\’. This means they might require more love and attention you were used to giving to your own children. Helping your foster child maintain contact with their birth parents, encouraging them to thrive academically, and giving them emotional support requires a steady blend of patience and determination. Regardless of how long they\’re with you for, you\’ll be a strong influence in their being.

Resilience is essential

Times are often hard for foster carers. From letting go of a child you\’ve become particularly attached to, to meeting the emotional demands of a child who\’s rebelling against you, you\’re going to need resilience. Fortunately, local councils offer training that covers this. For example, some offer training in how to deal with children who make false allegations of sexual or physical assault.

Communication skills are a must

Although you\’ll be the person caring for the foster child around the clock, they\’re still the responsibility of the local council. Usually, the person representing the local council is a social worker. That social worker may also be communicating with the birth parents and healthcare professionals. You need to communicate the child\’s progress, make their needs clear to teachers and other professionals, and you\’re likely to be communicating with birth parents or grandparents in many cases.

A genuine desire to help children progress

From helping a little one finish their ABCs to seeing them through their GCSEs, you must have a genuine desire to help them make the most of themselves and their attributes. Positive encouragement can go a long way, and it must come from a place of love and care.

Now for the practical issues

First of all, foster carers must be over the age of 21. In addition, you need to have a spare bedroom in your home – you cannot expect foster children to share with existing children or other adults in the home.

In addition, you must be of good character and a criminal record free of sexual, violent, and major drug offences is essential. The assessment process takes around six months. During this time, the local council will perform a criminal record bureau check, they\’ll seek out character references, and they\’ll make sure your home is a warm and safe place to be.

Ultimately, councils need to ensure you\’re able to act in the child\’s best interests. The process may be arduous, but it\’s worth it in the end.

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