Since the 1980s, Inala Community House Out of Home Care has been supporting foster and kinship carers across the western suburbs of Brisbane. Throughout this time, we have seen carers come from all walks of life. Often, there is a misunderstanding about what is needed to be a carer. Of course, there are criteria to becoming a carer, but at the root of it all, a foster carer needs to be able to care for children in a safe, stable and supportive environment.
That’s right, foster and kinship carers, can be an individual, couple within a family, must be at least 18 years of age, can come from any background, and have varying family circumstances. We asked our Out of Home Care team, what other qualities they feel make a good carer. Take a read!
Good listening skills
When a child is placed in care, whether that be with a foster carer, or a kinship carer, they will have experienced difficulty with their own family. It is essential that their new carer, has good listening skills and gives children the space to share their thoughts, feelings, and worries when they are comfortable to do so.
Patience and humour
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to children and the way they adapt to the new environment may not be smooth sailing. Children need time to settle in their foster family and a good carer need the patience to let a child do this at their own pace. Humour and connection with the child through laughter is a great tactic to make them feel more comfortable with you.
Be flexible and willing to adapt.
This is key! As mentioned, children move at their own pace and adapting to the new home environment may take time. It may not happen in the time or way you first thought, so it is important to be flexible and adapt the way you care to each child.
Advocate for the child
As a foster or kinship carer, it is your responsibility to be the best advocate for the children in your care. To be a good carer, you need to be confident and comfortable to speak on behalf of the child and ensure their needs are being met.
Stability and consistency
As we mentioned, when a child enters care, they have likely been through trauma, and as a carer, it is essential that you can provide the stability and consistency they need at home. Creating this stability and consistency as they go through life, helps children to have more confidence and certainty for their future.
Foster and Kinship Care can definitely be a challenging experience; however, the rewards are immense. Our carers and their families are part of a very special community, and we value each and every member. We recognise the need to support the whole family through their fostering journey, as each member plays an important part in providing care to vulnerable children and young people.
To find out more about Inala Community House Out of Home Care, visit our website or contact the team on (07) 3372 1711