Promoting resilience in fostered children and young people

What this guide is about

Quotes from young people, foster carers or practitioners

"It's, like, foster care... it works differently for different people. It goes well for some people, it doesn't for others." Young person in foster care. (6)

This guide looks at the things that children and young people live for - love, happiness and hope for the future - the kinds of things that children in foster care can really miss. It is about the strengths of children and their families and the ways in which professionals can make a difference by recognising, initiating and sustaining caring relationships, ensuring that school is a positive experience and promoting the self-esteem of children and young people in foster care.

The guide focuses on what makes foster care work well for children and young people. It looks at what is known about helping children to cope in difficult circumstances. In general, this appears to reflect what is included in the literature on resilience. (8)

It unpacks the concept of resilience and provides helpful hints for practice as well as access to further resources. These messages also apply to children and young people living in residential care.

Key message

Resilience-enhancing factors include:

  • building a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy
  • having at least one close tie with a committed adult
  • being happy and involved at school

Foster care should be able to offer children these opportunities. (11,12)

This guide will examine each of the resilience-enhancing factors identified above, providing practical examples of how you can promote resilience-enhancing factors for children and young people.

The guide only covers the resilience-enhancing factors highlighted in SCIE Knowledge review 5: Fostering success: An exploration of the research literature in foster care (8), as these are seen as crucial to future fostering outcomes. Further reading about encouraging resilience can be found in Appendix 2.

First, however, the guide will examine what is meant by child-focused fostering, and why pursuing resilience-promoting strategies is an integral part of a child-focused fostering service.