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That first night with a new placement

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Accepting a foster care placement can be rather nerve racking, especially if it's your first foster care placement.  Not only can this be a nerve racking experience for the foster parent, but it's exponentially stressful for the foster child.  It’s important to remember that this child was just removed from their mom, dad, or possibly even school.  It's likely that the child has little to no information as to where or why they are transitioning to an unknown home.  Understandably so, the child is likely going to be scared, upset, confused, and shaken up. 

Having some knowledge on what to expect for night one of your first foster care placement may help take the anxiety and fear away.   Not only is this beneficial to the foster parents, the foster child's anxiety could also be placed at ease.  There are many things you can do to make the foster child feel as comfortable as this particular situation may allow for them to feel. 

Invite the child into your home; introduce yourself as well as any other individuals residing in the home and or pets.  Give them a tour of the residence; show them where the bathroom, kitchen, and bedrooms are located.  Show them where the toys and games are that they can access.  Allow the child to explore the home and ask questions.  The children will ask many, many questions be there to comfort them and try to answer their questions to the best of your ability as well as gauging the appropriateness of the questions.  Provide the child with a snack and a drink.  Show the child where the food is kept and ask them what their favorite foods are.  This may require a quick shopping trip to get some of the child’s favorite foods.  Don’t be alarmed if the child does not eat right away, remember they are processing a lot at this time and may be a little overwhelmed.   Ask the child if he or she has any questions about you as the foster parent.  This may help the child get to know you better and become comfortable with you.  Give the child space, the foster child may want to sit in their room and process everything that is taking place.  Don’t feel like you have done something wrong if the child asks for some alone time.  Ask the child if he or she wants to play a board game or see the toys that are in the home.  Engage in an activity with the child to help make the child feel more comfortable and relaxed in your home. 

These are just a few of the things you can do to help make a first time foster child feel comfortable in your home.  Please remember that these children are fragile and have experienced abuse and or neglect, and remembering to make this transition as easy as possible.  Also, if you are struggling with a placement or have concerns don’t hesitate to reach out to your agency or case worker.  These individuals are here to assist you and help you through this new transition!

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