A guide to fostering

  1. A guide to fostering
  2. Skills and qualities we look for (You are here)
  3. Short term care
  4. Long term care
  5. Support care
  6. Remand care
  7. Short breaks
  8. Day fostering
  9. Mockingbird Family Model
  10. Our priorities and achievements

Skills and qualities we look for

Foster children need your care, your time and your skills. You have to be interested in and able to talk to children and young people, to have time, energy, understanding and, above all, a sense of humour. You also have to be willing to work as part of a team with parents and social workers.

Many fostered children have been through traumatic experiences. They may have challenging behaviour or feel lonely and afraid. A foster carer provides day-to-day care and much more for a child who needs looking after. Your role is to nurture and support them, help them to develop and grow and to act on their behalf when dealing with others.  

We're sure that one of the first questions you'll be asking yourself is whether or not you'll be considered suitable to foster a child or a young person. To help you answer this, we have produced a checklist of what we consider to be the essential qualities of a successful foster carer. 

These key skills or qualities that we look for in our foster carers may already come naturally to you, or you may need our training and support to make the most of your potential to be an excellent foster carer.

To meet the essential criteria, you must be able to:

  • Provide a good standard of care for other people's children, promoting their healthy growth, development and achievement
  • Work closely with other professionals
  • Work (where necessary) with the child's family and those important to the child
  • Set appropriate boundaries and manage a child's behaviour without resorting to physical or inappropriate punishment
  • Understand child development (we can help you with this)
  • Listen to and communicate with children in a manner appropriate to their age and understanding
  • Ensure that children are cared for in a home safe from harm and abuse
  • Communicate with a variety of people and promote equality
  • Actively encourage children to learn
  • Help them to feel positive about their origins, religion and culture

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