6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Master Before Being a Foster Parent

Basics to Being a Foster Parent

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The following 6 statements describe the basic knowledge base of successful foster parents. Of course,​there is more to being a foster parent, but these 6 points are a great place to start.

Foster Care Skill #1 - Know your home and family.

Before jumping into foster care, most families spend two or three years just thinking about it. Here are a few points to consider before making the final decision on whether or not to do foster care.

    Foster Care Skill #2 - Know how to communicate.

    You will be communicating with many different people as a foster parent. This list may include:

    • birth family
    • teachers and other school officials
    • therapists
    • social workers and other agency staff
    • judges and other court personnel, like a GAL or a CASA worker
    • other foster parents
    • your family and friends, who may just not understand your role as a foster parent.
    • the child

    Foster Care Skill #3 - Know that working with foster children and the foster care system can be challenging.

    The children in foster care have often endured extreme abuse and neglect. A child's way of communicating is often through behaviors. The foster care system is also often a new entity for many foster parents.

    Foster Care Skill #4 - Know how to successfully manage behaviors of challenging children.

    Due to the past abuse and neglect, ​corporal punishment is not allowed to be used on children in foster care.

    If the discipline method causes physical discomfort, it is not OK. For example: going without a meal, withholding bathroom breaks, push-ups, or standing in the corner on tip-toes.

    Foster Care Skill #5 - Know how to manage a child's losses as well as your own.

    Many times a child's grief and loss (grieving the loss of their home and family as well as the past abuse) can trigger responses in foster parents.

    Foster Care Skill #6 - Know how to work with others.

    As a foster parent, you will be working with many different professionals. This really goes along with communication, but there is more to being a good team member.