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

Jonideyton's picture

Jonideyton said:

We have only had toddlers. We usually try to connect with them through a toy or snack.
ssrieske's picture

ssrieske said:

give a tour of our house, open all the door/closets- no scary places or mystery places. Show them the outside of the house. Some of my kids called me "mom" b/c they were very young... we still have relationships with them, I wish I had encouraged "Momma Sandy" or "Aunt Sandy"- I can see how this caused confusion and still does
TrishWhite13's picture

TrishWhite13 said:

Get to know them over a meal, play outside, and introduce them to our home.
swashington12's picture

swashington12 said:

new arrivals at my home, I greet them with a smile and tell them my name Ms Sharon, letting them know there safe to ease the anxiety depending on the age, then show them around the house and then show them their room and while putting away their things we have conversation about them to get to know them, this lets me know what they like or what they have fear of, the next day depending how things are going and age the rules come in to play, i believe in treating all children the same out to eat, parks, shopping, taking to places to take pictures and print them out for them or there parents if they like or have visitation, compliments on how they look in something their wearing and when there achievements have been make
jonathan_harrell's picture

jonathan_harrell said:

Currently we give a tour of the home and their room, telling them about ourselves, our likes, our work, and a bit about other foster kids we've had to set them at ease. We try to ease them into the new routine of life in our home, not bombarding them with a long set of rules but initially dealing with situations as they come up. We let the new foster child pick (and if they're inclined, help cook) dinner for their first couple of nights.
merollba's picture

merollba said:

appreciated the practical advice offered here. such a scary and potentially difficult time for a foster child when they are first entered and integrated into a new home. Think there was helpful tips here that will equip us to make that process easier
mcmerolla's picture

mcmerolla said:

Since we foster young children, we start by showing them the toy room first. Once they have played for a while and have broken the ice, then we offer them some food and talk about what the plan is for the next few days.
LJR's picture

LJR said:

Welcome them unconditionally and try to understand how they may be feeling. Pray:)
Dgoofy69's picture

Dgoofy69 said:

When we welcome a new placement into our home we try to find out what a favorite food is prior to their arrival and provide that for their first dinner with us. If we aren't able to find out the information we try to have something simple and fun like pizza for dinner.
ccnewsom2020's picture

ccnewsom2020 said:

Our first introduction to having children was at 10 o'clock at night. A two year old and five year old brother and sister was dropped off. She cling.ed to the investigator that dropped her off. She was very scared. They were already in pajamas. So, I gave them milk and cookies, made them a bed on the couch and let them watch cartoons, until the went to sleep. Their bedrooms were upstairs. Ours was down stairs, I didn't want them to be too far away. The next day I told them their mom and dad was on time out for a while and we would take care of them until they were ready to take care of the again.