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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Foster Care Placement

Happy woman with little adopted African-American girl on white background

This is it. You’ve registered to become a foster parent, passed all the checks, completed the training, and now you are about to welcome a child in need of shelter and stability into your home. First of all, congratulations are in order! We know how exciting the moment is to finally receive your first foster care placement.

As you prepare to receive your foster child, you may already have a solid foundation for what to expect and how to prepare because of the lessons learned in your education classes and training. But here are a few things you can consider or do (if you haven’t already) to best prepare yourself and set your household and your new family member up for success.

1. Ask the Child’s Caseworker Any Questions You Have

You will be given information about your foster child once the arrangements to stay with you have been made. However, the info provided may not satisfy certain questions you may have. If there is ever something you want to know or are curious about, don’t be afraid to ask the caseworker. They may be able to provide you with the answers you are curious about or retrieve the answers from their sources and relay them back to you.

Questions you may have can vary greatly, but some common ones caseworkers often field are:

  • Why is this child being placed?
  • What is the child’s medical history?
  • Does the child have siblings?
  • Does the child have any special needs?
  • Does the child or their parents adhere to a particular religion?
  • What are the child’s favorite foods?
  • What activities does the child like to do?

And so many more. Whatever you’re curious about, be sure to ask. After all, the more you know, the more effective your care can be. 

2. Clean and Straighten Your House

Our environment is a huge contributor to our peace of mind. When welcoming a foster child into your home, it’s important to invite them into a clean, organized environment. Your child is likely coming out of a chaotic situation, and even though your home is going to provide peace and stability, a messy, disorganized, or unclean home could cause the child to remain in a state of chaos and discomfort mentally and emotionally.

Now may be an excellent time to declutter and donate unused items to your local thrift shop. It could also be the right time to create an organization and cleaning system for your belongings and home. Don’t feel obligated to turn your home into one that is so clean and tidy that it, too, is uncomfortable to be in. As long as you can create an organized and comfortable environment that doesn’t overwhelm your child, you’ll be set.

3. Prepare Your Child’s Bedroom or Sleeping Area

Your child’s bedroom may be their safe haven in the beginning while they get acclimated to you, your family, and your home. Their bedroom (or sleeping area) is often treated like a home base where the child can decompress, relax, and spend time alone processing their experience so far.

Based on what you learn from your caseworker, you can outfit your child’s bedroom with age-appropriate items that fit their interests. From activity books and children’s books for younger foster kids to TVs and video game consoles for older kids, you can help set up a room or area of the room that your child will feel comfortable in but not bored.

When decorating, it’s recommended to avoid gender-specific color schemes and lean more toward neutral options. Yellows, greens, or bright but neutral paint colors and bedspreads are a great idea when it comes to deciding how to decorate. You can also think of your child’s bedroom or sleeping area as a blank canvas that they can decorate to their liking as early as day one. This can help the child feel even more at home and comfortable sooner.

4. Stock Up on Essentials

It’s not uncommon for foster children to arrive at their placement with very few of the items that they will need. To ensure they are taken care of from the start, you can have essentials on hand in case any items are needed.

Essential items or supplies can include:

  • Socks and underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant (if they are of the age to wear it)

And other items that are specific to the needs of your child. To optimize your stock, be sure to ask the caseworker your questions!

5. Put Dangerous Items and Valuables Away

This is more important if you receive a younger foster child, but any child you welcome into your home needs to be safe. Your child’s safety is the most important thing to consider, and if they get hurt or sick because they got their hands on a harmful item left out around your house, it could lead to one big disaster. So, keep the dangerous stuff out of their reach. From medications to detergents, cleaning chemicals, sharp items, and other household dangers, be sure these items and others are put away and locked up to prevent accidental injury or harm.

Additionally, it’s essential to secure any valuables in your house. If you have fragile items with sentimental value out on display, it’s wise to remove them for the time being. Children, in general, can be rambunctious and accidentally destroy an important-to-you item. And, it’s not uncommon for children with a history in foster care to intentionally destroy breakables they find if they enter a state of rage, fear, or severe discomfort. To be safe, lock away the things you value and ensure that what’s left out is kid-friendly and safe.

Are you anticipating your first foster care placement? Congratulations, you are going to be a great foster parent! Or, if you are still on the fence about becoming a foster parent, talk to Generational Child Care about what foster parenting can look like for you.

Our team is thrilled to help interested adults learn all they need to know to begin their journey. We become your partner in foster parenting, providing you with all the tools and resources you need to successfully register and begin serving children who need your help. Discover more by calling 478-477-1289 .

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