So, you recently got licensed as foster parents and are excitedly waiting for your first placement? There are a few helpful things you can do to prepare yourself, your family, and your home while you wait!
Participate in trainings you want to grow your knowledge and skills in.
Some great trainings to start with include effects of trauma on child development, TBRI (Trauma-Based Relational Intervention), caring for children with behavior concerns, de-escalation techniques, child development, attachment, supporting a LGBTQIA+ child, and caring for a child of a different race, background, and ethnicity than your own. In Washington State Alliance for Child Welfare offers many great trainings for foster parents to choose from.
Have a good support system in place.
Being a foster parent is rewarding but hard. Surround yourself with family, friends, and church community that will emotionally, tangibly, and spiritually support you in your fostering journey. You can also find a local foster parent support group to join. As foster parents, you will be facing similar challenges and having similar questions about caring for a child and you can support one another every step of the way. If you are open to caring for a child with a different background, race, and ethnicity than your own, surround yourself with people from different ethnicities and backgrounds to get educated on parenting a child from a different race/culture in a way that honors them.
Have the basic items you need for the child you anticipate entering your home.
This includes hygiene products, clothes, and some toys to get you through the first few nights in case the child coming into your care arrives with no belongings.
Learn about the resources available in your community.
Find out how you can advocate for a child’s developmental, health, educational, and mental health needs with local resources. It is also helpful to have a family doctor and dentist that is covered by your state’s insurance for the child lined up so that you know in advance where you will take your child for their first medical appointments.
Have a list of questions ready for when you receive the call about a potential placement.
It’s important to ask as many questions as possible before agreeing to take a placement so that you are well prepared for the child coming into your care. In this blog post we have a list of questions to get you started.
Prepare the child’s bedroom.
Make the child’s bedroom comfortable and welcoming. To make it special for a child you can decorate it or have an age-appropriate toy ready for them.
Get your family ready for placement.
Talk with your spouse and children about what to expect in the first few days of the child entering your care, how to welcome the child into your home, and what boundaries may be put in place so that everyone in the home is on the same page.
Practice responses to questions that people will be asking you about the child entering your home.
People in your life will be interested about the child coming into your care, and sometimes this may result in them asking nosey questions about the child’s background and history that you are not at liberty to answer. In this blog post we give a few tips on how to answer questions that someone may ask about a child.
Pray that God will guide you in preparing well for the child before they enter your home. Pray for the child and the child’s needs that will be entering your home. Pray for strength and peace for yourself and for discernment of how to provide the best care for the child after they are placed with you.