You made it! After months of training, hours of home studies, and dozens of pages of paperwork, you just found out you’ve been approved as foster parents! Now what?
How Long Does It Take to Get a Placement?
This largely depends on where you live and your placement parameters. If you’re only open to infants, it may take months before you receive a phone call. Some counties have a lot of foster children coming through the system but others might not. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a phone call right away.
How Will I Know if a Placement is Right for Me?
It can be nerve wracking waiting for a phone call about a potential placement. When you do get notified of a child who needs a home, there typically isn’t much time to decide. It’s important to talk to your partner about what you’re comfortable with in terms of age range, number of kids, and behavioral challenges. You won’t have a lot of time to talk it over, so knowing what you’ve agreed to in advance is helpful, especially for the first few phone calls.
Don’t be afraid to say no, if you get a phone call about a placement that doesn’t fit within your parameters. It’s best to be honest with your worker about your concerns and it can help them find the right match for the child, even if it’s not with you.
How Can I Prepare for a Placement?
If you have a narrow age range, you might be able to start buying some supplies. For example, if you’re open to elementary school-aged kids, you might be able to stock up on basic toiletries, games, and stuffed animals. Here’s a list of a few basic items that are great for any age, which we recommend keeping on hand.
This is also a great time to continue having discussions with your spouse about the type of children you feel equipped to care for. Read as much as you can about foster care and adoption and consider taking additional training classes.
Foster Care Secret- Pretend a child was just placed in your home. What would you need to do to be ready? Do you need to hang blackout curtains in the bedroom? Do you need to install outlet covers for safety? Think about what would need to be done and try to complete these tasks before a child is placed with you.
Should I Buy Clothing?
There’s a chance that your children won’t arrive with much, but that doesn’t mean you have to stock your house with clothing of every size. If you have a narrow age range, it might be worth it to keep a few clean t-shirts and pajama pants in a few sizes. But keep in mind that kids’ sizes can vary greatly. Instead, it might be more beneficial to identify a few friends or family members who can be “on-call” to provide a few outfits when you get your first placement.
Should I Tell My Friends and Family?
Absolutely! It’s important to have a support network that can help out, especially when you get your first placement. Ask friends and family if you can call them for help when a child first arrives. Giving them details about what you might need can be extremely helpful. If you’re a member of a church, tell a pastor about what you might need as a foster parent, so they can help support you.