Managing behaviour

Foster carers need to respond to a huge variety of different behaviours from children at different ages and stages in their development. The Fostering Network has helplines, resources, and courses to help foster carers understand and approach a child’s challenging behaviour and make a significant difference towards helping them change.

Managing behaviour: some of the challenges

Fostering services attempt to provide background information about looked after children, but often foster carers have limited information about the child and young people they look after and uncertainty about how long a child will be living with their family. Foster carers may also come from a very different culture and background to the child or young person and not know about how they have been looked after in the past. Challenging behaviour can be the result of previous life experiences, although it may stem from a disability or condition the child has. However, by understanding that children often need help in changing their behaviour, and that their behaviour may be communicating their inner distress, confusion or anger, it is easier to sustain a positive approach to supporting them.

How we can help foster carers

Behaviour publication

The Fostering Network has put together a guide to help foster carers develop a better understanding of challenging behaviour and guidance to help them change it. It covers:
  • learning through experience
  • what’s going on inside
  • you and your family
  • challenging behaviour and different age groups.

You can purchase our Behaviour Guide online.

The guide is available to members at a discounted price of £15.


The Fostering Network can provide an in-service training course on understanding and managing behaviour, tailored to meet your service’s needs. Contact our training team for more information.

Our helplines

Our member helplines provide confidential, independent and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.

Our online community

Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.

Household insurance offer

Our members are eligible for 10% off their household insurance with Towergate Insurance – a policy that includes cover for any intentional damage caused by a fostered child.