The first week after receiving a child in your care can be full of different feelings of loss, fear, stress, and trauma for the child. Expect that on the first night there will be little sleep due to a new environment and sleeping arrangements. Having things in place such as a night light and a comfort item available for the child at bedtime may help. Also, it can help to incorporate anything the child brings from their home into their room as this can provide them security. Establishing a routine from the start can help with the transition for both you and the child.
There will also be a lot of activity during the first week of placement with the child’s case. Within the first week you can expect to receive calls or emails for:
-A Shelter Care court hearing
-FTDM (Family Team Decision Making Meeting)
-Health and Safety Visit at your home. Expect the social worker to do a walk through of your home and inspect the child’s room.
-You will need to take the child to an initial well child exam.
-A visit will be completed with the child and their birth parents within 72 hours of placement.
-Enrolling the child in school and/or daycare.
-If a child did not come with clothing or hygiene products, a trip to the store.
-Schedule and routine changes.
Expect the unexpected during the first week of placement. Having a list available of potential things that may occur the first week of placement can help you prepare ahead of time to alleviate additional stress. Also, having a strong support system to turn to is crucial because no matter how much we try to prepare, it’s always great to have extra support when the unexpected occurs. It can be overwhelming especially if it is your first placement. You aren’t in this alone. Reach out to your DCYF social worker or Agency case manager if there is anything that comes up that you are unsure about.