Credit hours:

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


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!


Step 1

Review the following article from, "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

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.
Janieb814's picture

Janieb814 said:

When a new child enters our home we introduce ourselves (the entire family that is home at the time), explain a little bit about us, introduce them to the inside pets, give them a quick tour of the home, and ask if they have any questions. We try to ask if there is anything they would like to tell us about themselves but without prying...they will talk when they are ready. We try to get to know what they might like to do, what they like to eat, and how to make them feel a little more comfortable.
penny.wallace's picture

penny.wallace said:

Get to know them over a meal at the restaurant they choose. At home we show them around and help put their belongings away. Then go over the house rules and talk more.
alex.wallace's picture

alex.wallace said:

We usually take them out to eat and to a store to get clothes because they often do not come with anything. At home we show them around and get to know each other better.
AmandaWyman's picture

AmandaWyman said:

when welcoming a new arrival, we tend to introduce ourselves and the family. We also like to give a bit of information about our family, who we are, things we like, and what fun things we enjoy doing. We have all the information on these children, but they know nothing about us. We also like to let them choose the first meal we have with them.
jenburns2000's picture

jenburns2000 said:

I have a welcome sign in their room and show them around the house
kehauterry's picture

kehauterry said:

What do you currently do to introduce your home to new arrivals, or what do you plan on doing in the future? I tried to make my home as comfortable as possible and took care to include a few things in his room that he would like (minecraft blanket and batman decor). Being a good listener and taking time to get to know the child will help them to feel more comfortable.
Jaskenner24's picture

Jaskenner24 said:

I made sure to have clothes and toys available. I placed night lights throughout the house. Also have snacks. I showed them around the home and where they would sleep.
nsnyder93's picture

nsnyder93 said:

I have not foster yet, but I am planning on introducing new arrivals with my 4 legged dogs! I think bring the new arrivals and my dogs to my backyard to play frisbee would be a nice ice breaker.
LindsayMeyer's picture

LindsayMeyer said:

I think that the best thing we do is have our biological children show the foster children around the house. They show them their bedroom, the play area, the bathroom, kitchen, etc. Having someone closer to their age seems to break the ice a little easier and allows them to feel comfortable asking questions while I talk to the caseworker.