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

dej34@hotmail.com's picture

dej34@hotmail.com said:

These handouts are helpful! I provide a similar list of important numbers, wifi password (I foster teens), pets, and neighbors to make the youth feel more welcome.
Maddie's picture

Maddie said:

Bake those cookies as soon as you hear about a new child coming to your home! Keep a pre-made frozen mix on hand if you are not fond of baking cookies from scratch. Print off the useful information provided by Foster Club to use when introducing yourself to the child or children. Keep learning!
Maddie's picture

Maddie said:

A lot depends upon the age of the child and the circumstances from which they are entering care. If it is an emergency placement we just cease any other activities to concentrate on the child or children coming into our home. If infants or toddlers depending on their emotional state, we just let them roam around the family room, play with toys and fix them something to eat and drink. If upset and wanting to be held that is what we do, hold and rock. If the child is older we let our older or same age children show them around the house then fix something to eat and drink. We show them where they can put their stuff or give them some toys, pencils, paper and small toys to put in their own place. Teens are shown around the house then we fix something to eat and drink and listen to them.
Pieria1991's picture

Pieria1991 said:

The child should feel welcome into the home from love, live,laugh, respect, responsibility, & relationship that how I teach my son
Ryan Kelley's picture

Ryan Kelley said:

What do you currently do to introduce your home to new arrivals, or what do you plan on doing in the future? We try to make the rooms age appropriate and allow for the child to contribute to how the room is finished. We would allow them to explore their space and talk with them. We plan to take our time to get to know them and give them time to get to know us. My experience is only with infants so it's hard to know what I would do in an older child placement.
amendoza's picture

amendoza said:

I usually bring them into our home, walk them around the house so they will know where everything is Than I take them to their room and get them settled in. When they feel a little more comfortable I will begin talking about their likes/dislikesand just try to get to know more about them.
Jennifer Kelley's picture

Jennifer Kelley said:

The placement we had was a 6 month old and was a different experience. However our next placement may be an older child. Our goal is to introduce ourselves and allow time to play and explore their new home and room. I feel like it would be similar to a meet and greet at a school. Where children can come and play and explore or sit and observe their new surroundings. I imagine a lot of coloring, chalk, music, dancing, or painting accompanied by tears. One day at a time.
Slopez2010's picture

Slopez2010 said:

We have a baby, so this doesn't really apply. If I had an older child placed into my home, I would give him/her a tour of our house and introduce everyone to him/her. I find it helpful to print some of the documents shown here with house rules and what expected from everyone in the house as well as hobbies and things we like to do.
ahnordstiv's picture

ahnordstiv said:

I appreciated Isiah's point about needing to have space and Alexa's point about foster parents needing to be patient and I will take both of those pieces of advice into account.
yvonne3w's picture

yvonne3w said:

After reading and listening to this course, I plan on giving a child a tour of the house, an introduction to our family and a more formal get-to-know you session with the child. I didn't realize how confusing the process must be for the kids.