21 Tips for Successful Foster Parenting

Foster parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a calling – a calling to give of yourself and care for the least, the last and the lost in order to be a successful foster parent. It requires more specialized skills than parenting your biological children. It’s no wonder foster parents are often called a “special kind of people”.

As a FaithBridge foster family, your roles include caregiver, family member and child advocate. It’s a tough, but very rewarding, journey. Here are 21 skills to help you succeed in your calling.

  • Understand the commitment and impact of fostering.
  • Understand how the addition of any new family member, especially a foster child, will affect existing family relationships, lifestyle and support systems.
  • Be able to identify individual and family strengths and needs.
  • Communicate well, openly and honestly.
  • Work in partnership, as a team, with everyone involved.
  • Assimilate foster children into your family.
  • Provide normalcy, acceptance and a safe and stable environment.
  • Provide basic needs (food, water, cleanliness, shelter and transportation).
  • Provide structure and stability through schedules, routines, realistic yet challenging expectations and clear rules and boundaries.
  • Discipline fairly and consistently.
  • Help foster children develop emotionally, socially, educationally and spiritually.
  • Encourage children in all areas of their life. Help them find their strengths and build on those, while helping them improve areas of weakness.
  • Establish a strong community and support network, for both foster children and you and your family.
  • Learn how to effectively parent children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned and/or emotionally mistreated.
  • Learn about grief, loss and attachment issues that impact foster children.
  • Help children maintain relationships with their birth family and develop relationships that keep them connected to their identity and promote self-esteem.
  • Advocate for the well-being, safety and happiness of children.
  • Use this as an opportunity to experience personal emotional and spiritual growth.
  • Ask for help.
  • Ask for support.
  • Ask for prayer.

Seems like a lot? It is. But every day and every child gives you an opportunity to build on these skills, learn, grow and fulfill your spiritual call.