Credit hours:
2.50

Course Summary

Preparation is key when welcoming a new child into your home. The arrival of a foster child in your house can be a time of excitement, as well as anxiety. For the child coming into your home, it is an especially intimidating period. It is often a time of questions, from you and your family, as well as from the foster child. Being ready to answer these questions, not only with words but with your actions, is crucial in the initial adjustment period. Welcoming each child into your home will be different, it is important to take into consideration the child’s developmental age to ensure you are using age-appropriate tools and language to help ease this complicated transition. This course offers a variety of articles, discussion guidelines, and engagement tools for various ages which will help you prepare to introduce your home and your family to your new foster child.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Special things to consider when introducing a child/adolescent to your home
  • Reasons a foster youth may have a difficult time adjusting to a new home
  • How to make the transition to your home go smoothly for any new arrival

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A special note from FosterClub:

Hello FosterClub Foster Parents!

We hope that you find our excerpts from our Foster Cub Coloring Book, Foster Care 411, and Quick Start Guide useful. We encourage you to connect the young people you work with or are in your care to the FosterClub community to help navigate through their foster care experience.

Thank you for being a foster parent!

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Step 1

Review the following article from Adoption.net, "Welcoming a Foster Child Into Your Home", to gain insight regarding special considerations to take when a new child is entering your care.

Step 2

Watch the following video to hear what FosterClub Young Leaders, Isaiah Palomo and Alexis Baska, say would have been helpful for them when transitioning into a new home:

Step 3

This excerpt from Foster Cub can help begin a conversation with a child about the role of a foster parent, and provide comfort to a child who may be adverse to the idea of someone replacing the role of their biological parent(s). Having a discussion about your responsibility to keep them safe and healthy could be the first milestone in creating a warm and comfortable home environment (click image below to enlarge):

Step 4

Equally as important as introducing yourself to help a child feel comfortable in your home, is taking time to get to get know them and about the things that are important to them. Review the following excerpt from FosterClub's Foster Care 411 publication and encourage your foster youth to use as a guide to share information about themselves with others (click image below to enlarge):

Step 5

Consider the information provided in the following excerpt from FosterClub’s Quickstart Guide. This can help prepare you to have a discussion about how a young person just entering the system is feeling and can also serve as a tool to help your foster youth start to think about their hopes or fears regarding the transition to foster care or a new home (click image below to enlarge):

Step 6

Review the following tool from FosterClub's Foster Care 411 publication, to gain an understanding of some of the things an adolescent may be concerned about when entering your home, also consider using it to introduce your family and home. Providing insight about who is in your family and what they are interested in could help ease anxiety and establishing and communicating house rules upfront is a great way to begin a  conversation about boundaries and expectations specific to your home (click image below to enlarge):

Step 7

Review the following Huffington Post article, "The Trauma and Turmoil of Being Placed in YOUR Home: Uncertainty for Children in Foster Care", contributed by  Dr. DeGarmo. In this article, Dr. Degarmo describes the anguish experienced by a particularly difficult foster care placement situation while offering wisdom, inspiration, and helpful ways to work through a difficult transition with your foster child.

Step 8

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

What do you currently do to introduce your home to new arrivals, or what do you plan on doing in the future?

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Course Discussion

criada48's picture

criada48 said:

We have only had 1 child placed with us so far - a 15 month old little girl. We walked with her as she explored the house. We made sure there were a variety of toys to figure out what she liked. We made sure there were soft, plush toys for her to hold for comfort. After watching the interview, for older children, I would like to make a welcome book that introduces us, our home, and a few key house rules.
derekhmiller's picture

derekhmiller said:

We've only had one placement, a little 14 mo old girl. But we made sure we had toys out, we stayed home for the first week with her, spoke in calm tones, and tried a variety of foods to see what she liked or didn't like.
MarieSmith's picture

MarieSmith said:

I introduce myself to the child, and then give them a tour. I also go over what our schedule will look like the rest of the day or the next day.
rachelbenning's picture

rachelbenning said:

We give a tour of our house and introduce them to our pets. Usually they are dropped of near a meal time or bed time, we keep it as easy going as possible the first day/night to not be overwhelming then get to know each other more the next day.
deniselong's picture

deniselong said:

Some kids are naturally more outgoing than others; for an extremely social and outgoing youth from the foster system who is now aged out, but whom we mentor, we took him along right away to meet extended family and friends, and to holidays, and he really felt included and welcomed. I imagine for more withdrawn kids, or kids who are closer to the trauma in their lives, these worksheets will be really helpful to introduce ourselves and let them introduce themselves in a low-stakes way.
jill_griffith2561394's picture

jill_griffith2561394 said:

I plan to introduce the child into my home by giving him or her a tour of the house, so he or she can feel comfortable. I plan to allow the child to be introduced to each family member and some of the likes and dislikes of each person and ask him or her to tell us about what he or she likes or doesn't like. I plan to go over the main house rules, so the child knows what is expected in our home. I plan to talk to the child about what name the child would like to use to refer to us as foster parents. I would discuss with the child how I could help his or her room feel more inviting and comfortable. I would ask what foods the child was used to and what meals they would enjoy for us to include in our meal preparations. I would make sure that the child knows that he or she can talk to me about their feelings and ask questions about anything that they are worried or confused about. I would tell the child how grateful I am that he or she could come to our home and be part of our family.
katdr77's picture

katdr77 said:

We usually sit and visit with new kiddos. We don't pressure but let them know who we are, what people call us (Usually Mr. and Mrs. First name), Show them their room, the whole house, etc. Each child gets a "Special Box" where they can keep things that are special to them and pull it out to look at any time they want. We talk about foods, clothes, etc.
Capt Vegetable's picture

Capt Vegetable said:

My spouse and I have now opened up our home to three infants, one of whom we adopted and the other two (twins) are reunified with their mom and we are celebrating their 3rd birthday this week. One item I think that could have been stressed more in this course was building bridges with bio/birth/first families. I know that my son will benefit from getting to know his grandma, aunt and mom.
ShaunO7623's picture

ShaunO7623 said:

So far all of our placements have been in the late evening, so naturally everyone is tired. We always offer something to eat, and sleep before just we do a whole lot of "get-to-know-you" stuff. And most times over breakfast we talk and try to figure it out.
missamericab's picture

missamericab said:

Soft, encouraging voices, tour of home, showing of bedroom/closet/bathroom, playing with toys, something to eat