Becoming a foster parent is a big decision. You may be wondering if it’s the right one for you. Here are some perspectives on the qualities of the most successful foster homes.
Which qualities make someone a good foster parent?
People from many different backgrounds, ages, and situations have been successful foster parents. There is no single formula for success, but there are some common qualities that are vital to being a good foster parent.
First, you must care deeply about children and have a desire to parent a child. Being willing to help another family is essential, but not all that is needed. The best foster parents also have certain life skills and personality traits that make them more successful:
- Ability to make and keep commitments
- Ability to offer love, without expecting it in return
- Ability and desire to sacrifice
- Flexibility and an ability to adjust to the unexpected and unknown
- Tolerance for other’s emotions, feelings, and beliefs
- A sense of humor
Having strong support from family, neighbors, a faith community or other network is also helpful. If you’re married, an equal commitment between spouses to foster or adopt is the best foundation for success.
What makes a great foster home?
Communication, empathy, and flexibility are critical when you welcome a child in need into your home on a temporary or permanent basis. You also need to ensure that your home will be a safe place for a foster child, and have a commitment to manage behaviors without physical punishment.
Here are additional qualities agencies look for in foster and adoptive parents:
- Knowing the strengths and needs of your own family and the impact that fostering or adopting will have on your family
- Ability to build on strengths and meet needs
- Ability to work in partnership with many team members
- Understanding of grief and loss in children and families
- Commitment to building connections for children
What are the top emotional qualities you look for in foster parents?
Agencies are looking for parents who have healthy moods, including self-esteem, experience effectively resolving losses, and openness to a range of emotions — including sadness and anger.
I suffer from a physical or emotional disability. Can I be a foster parent?
Absolutely. Agencies will evaluate the stability of your physical and mental health by reviewing submitted documentation from your physician(s) or specialist(s).
Do you need to have a particular financial background to be a foster parent?
Agencies look for financial stability within a household. When filling out your paperwork, you’ll submit a budget statement and documented income statements that show an ability to support your current expenses, as well as room for additional expenses.
State-provided financial support takes 1-3 months to begin, so agencies are looking for families who can provide for a child during that period.
Will my case be affected if I am single, divorced, or separated?
You do not need to be married to be a foster parent. If you are separated, the State of Arizona has specific requirements regarding your spouse. Agencies will be able to further explain. If you are married, you and your spouse will complete the licensing process together.