Before Accepting a Placement
Accepting a foster care placement can be both an exciting and nerve wracking experience. First impressions are incredibly important, and preparing yourself for a smooth transition is vital in building a strong relationship with your foster child. It is imperative to do your research and learn about your foster child, and yourself, through discussion and reflection.
The following questions will give new foster parents an idea if the child will be compatible with their home environment, and more importantly, if the parents are ready to embark on this journey. Before accepting a placement a family may want to ask:
Is everyone in the household prepared to welcome the child?
What is the child’s medical history? Do they have any allergies or take regular medications?
Do you know how long placement is needed; will this be a long-term or short-term placement?
Will I need to purchase items before the child arrives?
What is the child’s temperament?
Will the child have visitation with biological family members?
Am I ready for questions I might not be able to answer?
Am I ready for roadblocks and rejection?
Is the child school aged? If so are they currently attending school?
Are you prepared for a child that has emotional outburst, or is socially and behaviorally behind their peers?
These questions are a great starting point to examine your readiness and compatibility with a potential foster care placement. It is also important for parents to understand that sometimes we all may not look good on paper, so if pre-placement visits are available, they should take advantage of those to get to know the child as well. A face-to-face visit will give you the best insight into the child’s nature, and prepare you in how to best welcome him or her. And finally, perspective is the most important asset a foster parent can possess. You must embark on this journey with an open heart and mind, and with the understanding that there might be obstacles. Though it may not always be easy, it will be rewarding.