Life skills that foster carers use

Life skills you can bring to foster caring

Foster teen and carer hanging washing

You don’t need parenting experience or a particular professional background to foster. Some people sign up once they’re retired, others when life has changed and they’re looking for a new direction. In Central Bedfordshire, our foster carers have included a farmer, professional boxer, head teacher and a former navy officer – as well as many full-time parents. In every aspect of life there are transferrable skills that would make you a great foster carer.

Some names have been changed or removed to protect their identities.

A welcoming family

Do friends comment on how welcoming your home is? Are you the host for family gatherings? Making children feel welcome and part of your family will help them feel at ease.

They threw a small party in the garden when we first moved in, so we could get to know everyone and break the ice.

Alfred, young person 

Good with structure 

There’s a fair amount of paperwork and process to make sure children in your care are happy and healthy. If you respond well to structure, you’ll probably settle in more easily to fostering.

We’re focused on what’s best for children. We’ll give you lots of support to understand and follow the processes. Ultimately they’re your safety net. It helps everyone to know where they stand.

Lou, social worker

Empathy for other people’s feelings and situations

When you start to think about it, our empathy is called on in every aspect of our lives. It’s a key part of foster caring too, helping you to understand a young person’s situation and work through the challenges they face together. 

Good managers are empathetic, as they have to understand the feelings and motivations of their teams and how that affects their work. Even hobbies like drama – putting yourself in the position of other people and trying to portray the emotions of somebody else.

Bernadette, social worker 


Are you great at finding creative ways to teach people new things? Showing young people life skills, in a way that suits them, can be one of the most rewarding aspects of fostering.

They taught me skills I hadn’t learned at home, so I could move into semi-independent living. I learned to make this banging tomato soup with cheese rolls. I still make it today.


Curiosity and problem-solving

Do you enjoy thinking around a challenge and finding creative solutions? Curiosity is one of the key approaches we train foster carers to use, to help them understand and support children.

When the children have gone to bed, Amy and I will chat through the day and say, “Right, why do we think that happened?” We sit and work it out.

Ross, foster carer 


Managing change – and understanding your emotions through that process – comes to all of us. If you’ve got resilience to draw on in the tough times, it helps you to focus on the positive difference you’ve made to a child’s life.

People can underestimate how hard it is to let go. Being able to move children and young people on positively to the next stage of their life, is a gift to that child.


You celebrate the little wins

If you’re the office cheerleader, always spotting things to celebrate or mini-milestones to mark, you will likely get the most out of fostering.

Carers that can focus on the small wins get the most satisfaction from fostering. Like if a child doesn’t want to go to school, and then they manage to go to a lesson – that’s huge.


Personal qualities

Foster carers come from all walks of life, but there are a few attributes that most of them share. Read about the personal qualities of great foster carers; you may be surprised to find you’ve already got what it takes.

Read more about fostering.

Do you have the skills to foster?

If you think you’ve got the qualities and commitment to begin your fostering journey, we will match them with all the training and support you need.

Tell us you'd like to foster
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