That first placement as a fully qualified carer is exciting and filled with potential for both the carer and the child. While there will be a lot to navigate, this journey will be transformative for everyone involved.
As you receive the news that your first foster placement has been assigned, a thousand thoughts will race through your mind. Am I ready? Is the house prepared? What will they be like? Will they like me? These are all valid, and some will take time to find the answers. The things you can control should be taken care of as soon as possible, and you can find all the top tasks below.
Set Up the Bedroom
Every carer is required to have a bedroom for any placement. This bedroom has to be equipped with the basics, for example, a bed and a set of drawers, and it must be clean, safe, and neutral. This room has to be ready for action at any moment, so don’t leave this until the last minute. If the child arrives and they have no bed, this will set the placement off on a negative trajectory.
Find Local Carers to Connect With
There are often specific sections for your area like Foster Care Associates Yorkshire where you can source bespoke ventures for your nearby fostering community. Don’t forget that there are other local carers just like you. Depending on your agency and platform, there will be useful tips and guidance for connecting with these networks so utilize the sites as supportive tools to reach out and share the journey.
Be Open Minded
You will never be fully aware of the circumstances that brought the child to your door. Be open-minded and non-judgmental as you meet them and you get to know one another. This will hold the most value of all when it comes to building trust and a meaningful relationship.
Remember Your Training
Training for foster carers is extensive for a reason. There is a lot to learn, but every bit of information and new skill holds value in the wider spectrum of fostering. Lean on your training whenever the situation calls for it and don’t be afraid to seek out more if you face a particular confusing challenge. There is always a positive route forward!
Research Age-Specific Strategies
Depending on what you signed up for, there is a chance that you may not know the age of the child coming into your home. So, in a way, you must be prepared for everything. When they arrive, you can find age appropriate strategies and activities, but have some in the bag just in case.
Prep the Birth Children
Always prepare any birth children in the home for the arrival of their new foster sibling! Give them as much space and support as they need, and answer all their questions to enable a smooth transition.
When you begin a new foster placement it can feel like a fresh page in a new book. The story has yet to be written, and the plot will be determined by how you handle the process. Be prepared and stay involved.