Foster carers often describe their role as a rewarding opportunity that enables them to provide stable, nurturing, and safe homes for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families. Foster carers play an essential role in providing a secure and supportive family environment for children in need of physical, emotional and relational safety. Although foster carers come from all walks of life, they all have certain core attributes that fostering agencies look for.


Empathy is a key component of trauma-informed care and provides a foundation for children to overcome challenges and establish relational safety. The ability to put oneself in the child’s shoes and understand their feelings and experiences is critical. Empathy helps foster carers to recognise and understand the significant role of birth families in their children’s lives. With empathetic responses, foster carers can connect with the child at a deeper level, thus providing them with the emotional support and care they require.

Patience and resilienceFostering a child playing outdoors

Like all parents, carers, and guardians, foster carers must be patient and prepared to persevere, mindful that it can take time for foster children to trust and adjust to their new environment. Allowing the child to set their own pace in forming relationships and adapting to their new life is critical.

Being a foster carer can be emotionally challenging at times. Emotional resilience and self-awareness are key to managing one’s own feelings as they help us to respond to different situations in an appropriate manner. The ability to manage difficult situations and cope with the emotional demands of a child is essential.

One Step at a Time

It takes time to build trust and rapport, and for young people to feel safe, secure and settled in their new environment. Remember, as a foster care, you are part of a care team, so reach out to Centacare Foster Care for support.

Reaching out for help and support

At Centacare, foster carers work within a care team that wraps specialist support around each household. Being proactive in seeking help and guidance from a support practitioner and the child’s case manager can help foster carers to manage the evolving needs of children in their care. Friends and family are also an important source of empathy, reassurance, and encouragement.

Willingness to learn and undertake ongoing training

As a child’s emotional needs, behaviours and attitudes may change suddenly, foster carers need to be flexible and adaptable when caring for a foster child. This may include changing their approach to accommodate the child’s developmental needs and the impact of previous trauma on their everyday experiences. A flexible approach helps foster carers to adapt and adjust as situations evolve.

Advocacy Skills

Foster carers work collaboratively with case managers, support workers, teachers, birth parents and other stakeholders to meet a child’s needs. This team contributes to case planning and ensures that the child in their care enjoys a stable out-of-home environment.

Multi-Tasking and Organisational Skills

Foster care entails many responsibilities that require careful planning. In addition to meeting the day-to-day physical needs of a child, foster carers also develop routines and activities based on the individual needs of the child. There are meetings with support workers and agencies to attend, as well as visits with their birth families, medical appointments, and school events. Foster carers must be able to prioritise their responsibilities and manage their time effectively.

A commitment to support all aspects of a child’s identity

Foster care involves supporting and guiding children to develop a strong sense of identity and self-worth. In order to do this, a foster carer must show a genuine curiosity and acceptance of the child’s interests, hobbies, and culture, as well as ensure that their spiritual and religious needs are met. These may be different to those of the foster carer.

Could you be a foster carer for a child in need?

Foster carers play a vital role in providing care and stability for children in care. The ability to empathise with the child, have patience and perseverance, and be resilient, flexible, adaptable, and organised, are qualities of a good foster carer. With these attributes, foster carers can provide children in care the love, consistency, support and nurturing environment they need to flourish.

Interested in becoming a foster carer?

If are interested in joining our circle of care, we would love to hear from you! For further information or to register your interest, please phone our Foster Care team on 8159 1400 or email