Welcoming a new foster child into your home

Posted by / Thursday 20 August 2020 / Parenting Tips
woman-and-young-girl-playing-piano

Welcoming a foster child into your home is a big step; but we’re here to guide you all the way. While it’s a personal experience for each family, there’s actions that all foster carers can do to help ease the transition. If you’ve thought about whether you could foster, you might be interested to read these top tips provided by Pam Gully who provides therapeutic support to our fostering projects. 


Before your new foster
 child arrives, find out anything you can about him or her, for example, which name they like to be called and any preferences they have, for example, their favourite food. You might like to make their favourite meal for the first or second night. You might like to ask them to choose a takeaway meal. Small choices make a child feel safe. You will also need to know, on the day, about any medication they are taking, the dosages and any medical conditions or allergies.

dad teaching son about money

1. Make sure they arrive to a calm household, remembering that this change is likely to be anxiety-provoking for the child, or teenager and let them see their bedroom, early in the tour of the household. Security begins with having their own space. Calm also means not giving too much information (when they are likely to be at their least receptive) and phasing these conversations, over the next few days.

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2. One thing your new foster child will need to know on the first day is, about who lives in this house, what their names are and if there are any pets. Over the next few days, tell them about other relatives and friends of yours who may visit and a little about the neighbours. This helps them feel more connected to the people around them.

two boys talking on grass

3. Over the next week, or so, take them out and about in the neighbourhood, so that they can develop a picture in mind, of the new area. If you know, show them the school they will be attending. You could also show them the locality, on Google Earth, so that an idea of the town/city or county, especially if they come from a long way away, can begin to form in their minds. If you know that they will have contact with one, or more, of their own relatives, have a chat about how this will be arranged.

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4. It's easy, when receiving a new foster-child or teen into your home, to be very open, very generous and not too bothered about rules and routines. In fact, the reverse is kinder.  Let them know, before they fall foul of them, the do and don’ts, what is expected of them to fit in with the family. Then, as time goes on, you can ease some of these rules, if/when you think it is appropriate. For example, bedtimes on Fridays and Saturdays might be an hour later. Equally, it is best not to go out and spend a lot of money on them, beyond essentials, or they may come to expect you to be an open wallet/purse.

If you’re interested in fostering a child and want to find out more, visit our fostering pages and get in touch

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