As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so as a foster carer, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to welcome a foster child into your home. Whether they are your first foster child or your 91st you can get started on the right foot with this checklist.
Get Their Room Ready
Your foster child will need to have their own bedroom but you can prepare this in advance by making sure that there are always clean sheets on the bed and fresh towels available. If you use this room for other things when you are not hosting a foster child, such as an office or storage space, make sure that you can remove these things quickly and easily so that you are ready for when they arrive.
Prepare an Essentials Kit
You don’t know what your foster child will have brought with them until they arrive so prepare an essentials kit to help them get through their first few days in your care. Toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, sponge, and soap are useful. It is not necessary to keep clothes in every size and style in case your foster child hasn’t brought a suitcase; however, a few pairs of jeans and some neutral t-shirts in a couple of sizes may help them to get through the first couple of days until you can take them shopping for their own supplies.
Design an Introduction Book
This should include pictures of your immediate family and a short biography about them so that your foster child feels they can get to know you without being put under a lot of pressure. A layout of your home and a warm welcome introduction will help your foster child to feel at ease during their first days with you. If you have children of your own this is something they might like to design for you and it will help them to feel part of the process too.
Keep some emergency child-friendly food in your freezer. Your foster child is likely to feel uncomfortable to begin with and comfort food is a wonderful way to help them relax during their first few days with you. Food such as pizza, nuggets, chips, and ice cream may not be the most nutritious options but you can worry about that once they have had a chance to settle in.
It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about your foster child before they arrive. The more notice you have the more time you will have to do this. However, most fostering agencies such as fosterplus.co.uk will have basic information about your foster child including their age, gender, what school they go to, and how they like to be addressed, and you can ask these questions during an emergency phone call if necessary. The more you learn about your foster child in advance the more you can help them to settle in.
These things are simple to prepare before your foster child arrives and it can make a huge difference in how supported and comfortable they feel when they arrive.