iriemade Skip to Content

8 Essential Qualities Foster Parents Need

Photo by olia danilevich

Fostering can be enormously fulfilling. It’s the chance to care for a child who really needs you, and whether you provide a short or long-term placement, it’s a chance to make a real difference in a child’s life, giving them the safety and security that they desperately need. But it’s also challenging and fostering certainly isn’t something that just anyone can do. If you are interested in fostering, here are eight essential qualities that you’ll need. 


One thing that many potential foster carers overlook when they are exploring the option of fostering at is just how much energy they’ll need. Raising a child always takes a lot of energy, and long after the sleepless nights are over many parents still report feeling regularly exhausted. Foster care is no different. Whether you are caring for a baby or toddler who keeps you up at night or a teenager with plenty of emotional needs and challenges, you’ll need lots of energy to get through your days. 


You need the patience to look after any child, even for a short period. They can be incredibly frustrating, and if you aren’t patient, it can be easy to lose your temper or grow frustrated. This is even more important with foster children, who may have been through a lot, could be very emotional, and may need extra support to settle into life with you. 


Every child that you foster will have a different story. Some will just need a safe place to stay while a parent is in hospital, and others might have a more traumatic past. To be able to support them, you need to be able to empathise with whatever they have been through. 

A Cool Head

As a foster carer, you may sometimes find yourself in stressful and unexpected situations. You need to be able to stay calm and make rational decisions to help your foster child. 


Fostering is hard work. There are many setbacks along the way to forming a positive relationship with a new child. They might not always be particularly grateful or even nice. Some might not want to stay with you at all. You need to be resilient enough to stick with it no matter what. 

An Open Mind

As a foster carer, you can never judge a child on their past. You need to be open-minded to different backgrounds and situations, and able to treat everyone with love and respect. 

Emotional and Mental Strength

It’s hard. Most of us hate hearing stories about children who have been ill, hurt or neglected. It’s unpleasant. As a foster carer, you could hear a lot. You’ll need the emotional strength to be strong for the child in your care.

The Ability to Love

Loving a child that isn’t your own isn’t easy, and not everyone can do it. Can you love a foster child unconditionally, as you would your own child? And then love another one just the same down the line?

Fostering is a fantastic thing to do for another person. But it’s not something that everyone can do. You’ll need at least some of these qualities in abundance to be a great foster carer.

Pin It on Pinterest