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Characteristics of a good foster carer

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Being a foster carer is highly rewarding and has many great benefits. However, there is no doubt that foster care is also challenging and can push you into uncharted territory, consisting of various emotional, mental and even physical challenges. At Nexus Fostering we have worked with our foster carers across the UK, as well as children and young people in foster care, to identify a number of key characteristics that make a good foster carer. So if you’re looking to become a foster carer, have a read to find out more about what makes a superstar foster carer.

You have to be resilient and willing to rise to any challenge and set a good example to the child/young person under your care
A sense of humour and listening skills

Everyone enjoys having a laugh. We’re not asking that you have to be the next Lenny Henry, but children in general in particular identified that they value a good sense of humour in their foster carers. Children can be emotional, experiencing their own ups and downs as they grow up and go through life, however, a comforting presence during those difficult times that is able to put a smile on their face and lend an ear to listen makes all the difference.

Being present

This one may seem obvious. To become a foster carer you must truly want it. This means attending and participating in planning and review meetings, school meetings and events and court hearings. Not only must you be present for all of the above, but you must also be present and in the moment, enjoying the good times and enhancing each experience through your presence, offering safety and security and a shoulder to lean on.

A problem solver

We all have problems. From the moment we are born, we are kicking and screaming about something and that pretty much continues from childhood, through our teenage years and all the way into adulthood. While at a certain age the screams may get quieter and the kicking may stop, the problems in some shape or form remain. Children and young people in foster care have their own problems and as a foster carer it is key to recognise their problems as a priority. Empathising with them, listening, and solving any problems that they might need solving. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just to make things a little more difficult, there are also some problems that don’t need solving, but instead, listening is all that is needed. We’ll let you use your foster care training and experience to decide which is the most appropriate action to take.

Put the care in foster care

The key is in the name. A foster carer has to care. If you don’t care then you’re just not suited to be a foster carer at Nexus Fostering or any other fostering agency. Your care should not only extend to the children and young people under your care, but also yourself. You should also care about your own mental and physical well being.

Eagerness to learn

No one is born with all the knowledge in the world, no child is born the same and no one’s experiences are equal. For those reasons, constant learning is a must to be a success in foster care. A good foster carer will learn regularly from their training and support teams, but they will also learn daily from their foster child. An eagerness to learn is very important and good communication skills facilitate learning.


As a foster carer, there is an incredible amount of pressure on your shoulders. You have to be resilient and willing to rise to any challenge and set a good example to the child/young person under your care. You must help them to be ambitious and fuel their passions and desires so that they can live up to their abilities and fulfil their potential.

As you can see there’s a lot to consider when deciding if you would make a good foster carer. However, the list above is by no means exhaustive and there are plenty more characteristics that are essential for being a good foster carer. If you would like to find out more, then follow us on Facebook or reach out to our team today. We have handy guides and booklets with bags of information that will help you to become a superstar foster carer!


Fostering insights


  • Advice
  • Foster Carer

Date published

13 August 2021

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