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

Basics to Being a Foster Parent

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Foster care requires a set of parenting skills in order to be successful.

Foster care requires a set of parenting skills in order to be successful at caring for traumatized children.

Photo © Carrie Craft, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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.

Note: Stay up-to-date on foster care and adoption issues with my weekly newsletter.

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.

  • Understand that to manage the child's behavior, it may be important to understand why child abuse occurs and the risk factors that play a part.
  • Remember that your job as a foster parent is to build an attachment with the foster child and physical discipline may destroy the bond that you are trying to create.

  • It's also important to maintain your cool as a foster parent. This can be tough as sometimes foster children push limits. It's important to do all we can to avoid being abusive toward the children during times of stress.

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.

Be the best foster parents you can be. Sign up for a free ecourse today, Learn How to Be a Great Foster Parent in 5 Weeks

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  5. How to Become a Foster Parent
  6. 6 Foster Care Skills You Need to Know Before Being a Foster Parent

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