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

Marsham's picture

Marsham said:

We are planning on taking our first foster child soon. I think it will be important to walk them through our house and go over some basic rules with them. I'd also like to take time to lean about him/her and what a favorite family activity was that maybe we could do to help them feel more at home.
SamiNic0803's picture

SamiNic0803 said:

Our first foster was an infant, so we just had the room ready to go! Our second foster group was a sibling group of boys, so we took them home and gave them a tour. We let them get use to their surroundings before putting a whole bunch of pressure to meet everyone.
VickyR's picture

VickyR said:

My placements have been babies, so much of this don't apply. but its good information to have.
Ahnalona's picture

Ahnalona said:

I try to have some new pajamas and possibly a favorite food to help with the transition. We give the children a tour of our home, and introduce everyone, including pets. I ask lots of questions about likes and dislikes in every category - food, clothing, alone time - and try to incorporate as many of their likes as possible.
mikenjulieclarke71@gmail.com's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

We take medical kids so I usually just comfort them and talk to them while I familiarize myself with their therapies or treatments. I read to them and try to find things that they like. If we do have a typical child we just hang out with movies. I don't usually do a house tour or go over house rules until they have been here a couple of days.
mikenjulieclarke71@gmail.com's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

We take medical kids so I usually just comfort them and talk to them while I familiarize myself with their therapies or treatments. I read to them and try to find things that they like. If we do have a typical child we just hang out with movies. I don't usually do a house tour or go over house rules until they have been here a couple of days.
mikenjulieclarke73@gmail.com's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

we have snacks blankets ,stuff animals ect. they are free to pick anything they like that might bring them comfort. we have had a couple children pick blankets and it is still with them to this day even the ones that have moved
Rocran75's picture

Rocran75 said:

I usually foster newborn or children up to 3 years old, so this hasn't been a real concern, but I started out with older children and these tools would have been helpful, if I ever get older children again, I will use tools to open the home to the child.
AlbaughM's picture

AlbaughM said:

When we had our first placement I was worried about how the child would act around my own kids & vice versa. When she showed up I think she may have been overwhelmed because my kids were so excited to be having another child stay with us. After introductions we did a tour of the house & showed her the room where she would sleep. Then I gave her the option of food, play, or alone time. She wanted to play with my daughter & her doll house. It turned into an awesome month long play date for both of them. The next child we had with us was someone my oldest son already knew. It was a friend from his class from earlier in the year that had moved away. The two were so excited to play video games together that there was no problems with the transition. I chose this course because I know that someday I will have a child come through my home that isn't close in age to one of my children. But i definitely think that my children were awesome icebreakers!
Heather Aldrich Czechowski's picture

Heather Aldrich... said:

Listening to this was really insightful on the foster child’s perspective. I would like to have had some insight for younger children.