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

apriljackson11's picture

apriljackson11 said:

When my foster child arrive I will have and big smile on my face and the when my child come in side of my home I will introduce myself to the child by saying my name and asking the child there name and I will say nice to meet you the I will give the child and tour around my house so that the child will no where everything is at then take my foster child to the room that he are she will be sleeping in and let because you always suppose to let and child get comfortable so that the children will be feel like they are at home and that they will always be safe with me and what I plan to do in the future I will stock up some snacks and then and then we will go shopping and do the things that and child would like to do because I like for my child to have fun and pick what ever that it is that the child will like doing.
dspencer's picture

dspencer said:

I introduce myself. show them their room then the rest of the house. I don't try to cover rules or anything that would add pressure to an already difficult situation.
pamratvasky@gmail.com's picture

pamratvasky@gma... said:

Try to find out a favorite food or snack right away.
MrRp's picture

MrRp said:

It's important to first introduce everyone in the home in a centralized location such as the kitchen or living room. Once introductions have taken place, then give a tour of the home with some very basic ground rules for the home. The tour should end a their room at which they can be offered a meal or if they would like to use the facilities in the home to clean up (clean or not). The following day would be better to go over the home rules that are not basic rules that way they have a night to adjust and to see if you can help with adjustment throughout the night.
MrsP's picture

MrsP said:

We've only done the introduction once, and our little guy was 18 months. I think we were more scared than he was. He was quiet and taking everything in and we for the first time felt like we were far from being prepared. Next time... we would breathe a little first. Realize we don't have to all have it figured out the first night. The biggest thing is making him/her comfortable and to go at their pace. Make sure they our home is a place of warmth and safety.
Brandi Riker's picture

Brandi Riker said:

When introducing a child into your home, it is important to cover the basics first. Where they sleep and where you sleep. It is also important to give a tour of where the bathroom is and the kitchen. One of the things I like to do is show my kiddos where the snacks are, pick out a towel and shower stuff, ask if they need new clothes and what they need.
averyrhonda101's picture

averyrhonda101 said:

I feel it's important to introduce everyone living in home and giv a tour. Who want to lay in a bed at night and wonder who or what is in the next room
averyrhonda101's picture

averyrhonda101 said:

I feel it's important to introduce everyone living in home and giv a tour. Who want to lay in a bed at night and wonder who or what is in the next room
beanhead41's picture

beanhead41 said:

We've had one respite and one placement so far. I think something we could do that would be a nice add would be making a sheet of "get to know us" and give those to the kids when they arrive. We struggled with introducing our dog to our two teen placements but I think we have a better plan with that now too!
Robin2ce's picture

Robin2ce said:

Me and my husband have only accepted one child so far into our home. We let him pick his first couple of dinners, pick which bed in the room was his, what blankets he would like to use, pick out some new clothes and little things like lunch box and shoes (he came with one outfit). We chatted the whole car ride home with questions about what he likes to eat, to do, hobbies, life experiences. In the future, I would love to open the door with fresh baked cookies and some better opening liners.