It can be both exciting and nerve-wracking to welcome a foster child into your home for the first time. There are probably many things on your mind. What will they be like? Will they like it here? How will they fit into the family dynamic? Although your mind is probably racing with questions, you can bet that the foster child is also experiencing a range of emotions. Before the child even sets foot into your home, you need to make sure your home is fit for purpose. So, whether you have recently gained approval from the fostering panel or you have just received the call about a referral, here are a few ways you can prepare before welcoming a foster child.
Create a Welcoming Environment
They say that home is where the heart is, and to you, it probably feels like a sanctuary you enjoy returning to every day. However, for a foster child, feeling ‘at home’ probably won’t come as easily at the beginning, which is why you need to take steps to create a welcoming environment. Giving your home a deep clean and keeping it tidy can eradicate the feeling of disorder and help create a calm atmosphere. Not to mention, regularly cleaning and decluttering will also help ensure potential hazards are addressed.
Prepare the Bedroom
You never know when you’ll get that call about a referral, and even if you have received the call, the child may arrive earlier than you expect. Preparing the bedroom and keeping the decor neutral can help make them feel more settled when they first arrive. Once they have settled in, you can help them feel more ‘at at home’, offering to decorate the bedroom together. Small things, such as picking their favourite colour for the walls and selecting bedding, can help them feel more comfortable in your home.
Learn About Their Likes and Dislikes
Once you have received the call about a referral, you should try to find out as much as possible about the foster child. Make sure you read the referral thoroughly and contact the social worker or referrals officer if you need more information. Learning about the foster child’s likes and dislikes, such as their favourite food, and catering to their preferences can make a huge difference to how welcome they feel when they enter your home. Not to mention, getting information about their background and their character can also help you prepare emotionally and mentally before their arrival. Foster Care Associates, or FCA, is a large fostering agency that delivers foster care in the UK. They work closely with local authorities to help ensure a child is matched with the right family.
Stock up on the Essentials
Stocking up on the essentials will help you stay prepared in the event of a last-minute arrival. Keeping toiletries, fresh linen, and clean towels on hand will help the foster child feel welcome as soon as they step foot inside your home. Once the child has arrived, you can assess the situation and purchase other things they need later.
Until next time.